Dovetailing history, design and service, Farnborough Airport elevates the check-in experience to new heights

Positioned as the entryway to Europe and beyond, this destination smooths out the rough that often comes with flying

With summer having swung into its sun-splashed, feel-good groove, we’ve hit the time of year when travel is at its apex, whether that’s for off-duty sojourns abroad or conducting international business.

Though, generally speaking, the former is likely the preferred situation one would like to find themselves in, the latter is difficult to circumvent, especially for those who live in London, a city known for its myriad connections to destinations across the world.

Exterior smooth curvy architecture of Farnborough Airport
Smooth curvy Farnborough Airport architecture
Interior smooth curvy architectural of Farnborough Airport

Though the act of carrying out your work across multiple countries can be an arduous task – the round-the-clock hours; the rigmarole of the journey, the terminals, the queues; the ceaseless blur of it all – such instances, we find, can be alleviated when you begin the trip on the right tone, a notion we’ve often sought out at Farnborough Airport, the UK’s largest business aviation hub.

Less than an hour’s drive from central London, and positioned as the entryway to Europe and beyond, Farnborough Airport is feted for its focus on a private-aviation experience that seamlessly dovetails premium service for passengers with a serene atmosphere and bespoke amenities.

Indeed, though it may not be as cemented in the public imagination as, say, Heathrow or LAX, Farnborough’s roots with the aviation industry go deep. It was there, little over a century ago, where the UK’s first powered flight was held, and also where some of the most important military and civil aviation research and showings – including the renowned Farnborough International Airshow, one of the world’s leading aviation events – have taken place throughout the years.

Once owned by the Ministry of Defence during the two world wars and throughout four decades of the Cold War, the town witnessed its debut civil aviation operations in 1989, before the decision was made by the government, in 1994, to develop the airfield into a business aviation centre, which would go on to launch nine years later.

Extensively updated ever since, the current destination is a feat of architecture, part of which is defined by a sculptural, wave-like roofline that evokes the surrounding Hampshire hills, and comes courtesy of 3DReid, whose envelope-pushing design fulfilled the original brief of creating a contemporary, forward-thinking build that would not only depict the romance, technology and theatre that comes with taking off the tarmac, but could also retain the small-scale intimacy and privacy required by its travellers and clients.

When it comes to experience itself, the airport sets its stall out from the moment you’ve been dropped off to when you’ve taken to the skies. Highlights among the smooth, singular service include a concierge that will look after you and your departure details, and handle your luggage as soon as you arrive; five sizeable lounges that call to mind a private-members club and are flush with complimentary refreshments; a dedicated Pet Travel Scheme – for those that need it – which facilitates a no-fuss journey for your pets (cats, dogs and ferrets) without the need for them to quarantine in the UK; a seamless boarding experience whereby on-site customs, immigration and screening services guarantee a fast clearance with fewer delays than you’d find at any of the UK’s other airports; and complimentary secure car parking (which includes EV charging points) outside the terminal for the entirety of your trip away.

For further time-saving, travellers have the option to be driven directly to their aircraft for a swift departure; when coming back, a concierge will also have a car ready as the aircraft’s stairs are lowered, for a return to London in under an hour – or, you can book a helicopter to whisk you away.

Further bolstering the appeal are the airport’s eco efforts, which are illustrated by the fact it became the first business aviation airport to attain carbon-neutral status, in 2018, and, five years later, it was the UK’s first business aviation airport to achieve Level 4+, the highest level of carbon accreditation.

The airport is now seeking to build on these achievements with an ambitious plan to be net zero by the end of the decade, which, so far, has comprised efforts such as: making sustainable aviation fuel available to its customers; becoming the first in the world to trial sustainable aviation fuel at the same price as standard jet A1 fuel; investment in the site’s electric ground power units; and the use of renewable fuels, namely hydrotreated vegetable oil, for onsite vehicles.

Billed as a ‘place to connect with the world’, this destination brings together superlative design, high-end tech, an eco mind and unrivalled service into a single experience that spans from the moment of arrival to when your aircraft’s wheels are up.

Want some travel inspiration? Our most stylish friends tell us where they’re jetting to this summer…

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