UK airfield owners and operators are being urged to join the Airfield Operators Group (AOG) to develop an exchange of information and a ‘strong unified voice’.

“Vital to the well-being of General Aviation in the UK are the safe and well-run airfields from which pilots operate for most of the year,” said Emma Hughes of AOG, and also director and operations manager at Compton Abbas airfield.

“Over the years airfields have survived without the benefit of direct information exchange or a platform for group discussion and/or support which, with the complexities and difficulties faced, is really quite extraordinary.”

AOG currently has more than 30 airfield members including Goodwood, White Waltham, Popham and Compton Abbas but it is seeking to expand its reach.

“There really is a need to have a strong unified voice,” continued Emma. “To this end we are asking that all medium and small airfields join the AOG.”

One recent success of AOG was to negotiate with NATS a significant reduction of the AFPEx costs to airfields with the APFEx Lite initiative. There are several issues ahead facing small airfields including training of staff for Rescue and Fire-Fighting Services (RFFS) and Initial Emergency Response (IER).

AOG also spreads best practice advice for grass field usage and protection, particularly over winter when low-lying airfields may suffer flooding.

“With other changes in the pipeline that will affect us all, it’s even more important that we pull together now, and make an early contribution to the rules and regulations that affect us,” said Emma.

AOG is free to join, with no subscription fees, and it has a private internet forum to share information and opinions. AOG points out that it is very different to the Airport Operators Association (AOA) which is more attuned to airport rather than the airfield operations.

“Although mainly aimed at licensed airfields, the AOG would happily embrace the busier unlicensed airfields as there are many common issues to be shared.

“Meetings can be held in suitable geographical locations throughout the UK to enable local as well as national issues to be discussed when the need arises.”

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Airfield Operators Group