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Redhill aerodrome will be 'grounded' for the Olympics

By Surrey Mirror  |  Posted: February 01, 2012

  • Redhill aerodrome will be effectively closed during the Olympics, according to its manager

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NOT every business in East Surrey is looking forward to the Olympic games coming to our shores this summer.

Redhill aerodrome will grind to a halt during the six-week Olympic period, hitting the local economy hard.

When the skies around Gatwick airport are full of planes carrying international visitors, management at nearby Redhill aerodrome say their planes will be effectively grounded due to strict rules restricting airspace use.

Phil Wright, who manages the aerodrome, claims this will cost him and his pilots thousands of lost pounds in business.

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He told the Mirror: "It's a right pain. In practical terms, planes here will be grounded.

"They [the Department of Transport] are imposing restrictions during the six weeks of the Olympics.

"The are requiring flight plans in advance, and transponders, and are preventing planes from doing local flights – all of this means we'll effectively shut down. It just seems so unnecessary and heavy-handed.

"Businesses here will be losing tens of thousands of pounds in ordinary business – let alone that we hoped we might actually make some money from the Olympics with site-seeing trips over London or Olympic venues."

He added: "Redhill Aerodrome Ltd welcomed the awarding of the 2012 Olympics to London and saw an opportunity for additional business to be generated.

"But the Department for Transport, guided by the security services, has imposed airspace restrictions covering much of the south east of England."

One pilot affected by the restrictions says her classic De Havilland Tiger Moth will have to stay in its hanger for a month from July 14.

Yvonne Gillett, who runs vintage flight operation E.V.Ation, said: "This decision is going to shut me down at the worst possible time.

"I fly a Tiger Moth between April and October and to have my plane grounded and not earning, while I still have to pay hanger fees, is going to hit me hard.

"That's one sixth of my annual income at least I'm losing right there. I'm not looking forward to the Olympics. My business will be closed down and London will have so much traffic it will become a no-go zone.

"I wish somewhere else had won the games."

The Department of Transport was contacted for comment but had not responded as the Mirror went to press.

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