The owner and chairman of Biggin Hill Airport, UK, Andrew Walters, has been honored by the British Business Aviation Association (BBGA). He was the recipient of this year’s prestigious annual Michael Wheatley Award for outstanding services to the general aviation industry. It was presented at the BBGA’s 43rd annual conference and AGM at Luton Hoo by Sir Gerald Howarth, MP for Aldershot and a general aviation advocate.
Walters originally flew helicopters in the Army Air Corps, and set up his first business, International Messengers, in 1975, growing it to 36 global offices – he sold the company in 1988. In 1990, he set up Regional Airports Ltd as a means to acquire both London Southend and Biggin Hill airports. Both performed well under his guidance – Southend was sold in 2008, while Biggin Hill is now the UK’s third-largest business airport.
Michael Wheatley, who the award is named after, was a cornerstone of the UK’s general aviation and helicopter industry for more than 25 years, even advising the police and ambulance authorities. He died in 2008, with the BBGA creating the accolade.
Marwan Khalek, BBGA chairman, said of Walters, “At a time when airport access is one of our biggest issues, it is good to have a friend who owns and looks after such valuable infrastructure and who has such an active interest in our association.”
Will Curtis, managing director, Biggin Hill Airport, added, “Andrew is a tireless worker and terrific ambassador to general and business aviation, always looking for new ways to innovate and attract new people to this exciting business. He is as passionate about his staff and his businesses are run as ‘family’ concerns in every sense.”