Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Shoreham's future

Shoreham Airport has announced that it is withdrawing the two grass runways. A spokesman denied that there will be cuts in ATC availability or a downgrading in service, but rumours continue, and in this economy long-term guarantees should be taken with a pinch of salt.

It's obviously a shame that the grass will no longer be available (the grass will be grown longer in order to reduce bird hazards), but if it reduces costs significantly, as the airport suggests, then it's understandable. These days, the name of the game for aviation companies is survival, and that means maximising revenue and minimising costs.

So how come Shoreham is coming in for a bit of stick when you might otherwise expect aviators to be sympathetic to their plight? Perhaps it's the fact that pilots like to moan, but perhaps it's also the fact that Shoreham has a bit of a strange personality. Most of the time it is a great little GA airport; it has an instrument approach, some of the best GA ATC around, a nice airshow, a great pilot shop and a lot more besides. On the other hand, it introduces weird parking charges, has frequent bouts of jobsworth attitudes regarding yellow jackets and employs some people who have forgotten how to smile.

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