Signature to handle helicopter traffic into London Gatwick onto the HAP for first time since 2001. Gatwick HAP (Helicopter Aiming Point) reopened after 12 year absence.
May 3, 2013
Signature Flight Support announces it has recommenced handling of all helicopter traffic into London Gatwick Airport, coinciding with the reopening of the helicopter aiming point (HAP) by the airport in May 2013. The opening of the HAP will enable commercial and business aviation operators to once again land helicopters at Gatwick without having to request runway slots or taxi on the runway.
Before the new HAP project began, feasibility discussions took place between Signature’s Gatwick station manager Jonna Mercercox and Keith Burridge and Jerry Barkley of Gatwick Airport Ltd Airfield Compliance. Joint project planning efforts between Gatwick Airport authorities and Signature Flight Support over the last two years led to the introduction of the new HAP after the original one closed in 2001.
“Our early discussions centered around two goals: to eliminate helicopter operators having to obtain runway slots to land and to improve the runway movement efficiency by reducing the number of helicopters using the runway and taxiing around the airfield;” stated Jonna Mercercox, station manager for Signature Gatwick, “We are happy that both these goals have been met, and that the new HAP will enhance both Gatwick’s and Signature’s service capabilities to passengers, airlines and general aviation customers. Signature is pleased to have a role in serving new and returning helicopter passengers to Gatwick, and expects opening of the new HAP will be a welcome benefit for all concerned.”
The location of the new HAP is optimal, at the end of taxiway Uniform on the west side of the airport. While slots will still be required for landing, helicopter operators will no longer need to taxi on the runway. The HAP is for daylight usage only, concurrent with visibility of 1500 m or more. After landing, helicopters will follow an Airfield Operations escort to a designated parking area.
London Helicopter Centres in conjunction with The British Helicopter Association (BHA) conducted an inaugural proving flight into Gatwick on May 3, 2013, landing a VIP configured EC135 Eurocopter at the airport. BHA was also instrumental in offering advice and expertise to ensure the new HAP would be developed to its maximum potential.