Dundee Airport is turning into the most expensive parking bay in Tayside this week as £500 million worth of private jets arrive ahead of a major golf tournament.
Fifteen planes, used by A-list celebrities, golfers and wealthy businessmen, will be parked beside the runway until Sunday as people arrive for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Carnoustie and courses in North-East Fife.
There will also be up to 50 comings and goings a day from the airport as further planes ferry in the rich and famous to attend the event — in addition to the normal passenger services to London and Amsterdam.
Planes have already arrived from as far afield as the United States.
Derrick Lang, airport manager, said: “When all the planes have arrived there will safely be around £500m worth of aircraft on the runway.
“This is the busiest week of the year for the airport, with around 50 movements a day coming and going over the next three days.
“The planes started coming in on Monday.
“The next two days, plus Sunday, will be our busiest days of the year without a doubt.
“When all the jets arrive there will be 15 planes parked at the airfield for the week. For a time this will definitely be the most expensive car park in Dundee.
“The rest of the traffic comes alongside the daily flights as families, friends, business partners and fans are flown in from all over the world.
“It’s a great time for the airport as we like being busy.
“This is a well-rehearsed routine now and we have made sure we have all the resources we need to ensure this week goes well.
“An employee in air traffic control even watches the leaderboard when the tournament is on so we can arrange the planes in order of who is out first. It’s little things like that which help this operation run as smoothly as possible.
“Last year was the first time Dunhill used the airport, so we have had a lot of time to debrief and prepare for this week. Now it’s just about carrying that plan out.
“It’s reassuring for us an airport that Dunhill has this continued faith in us to provide a service for them.”
The annual golf tournament is to be played at Carnoustie, The Old Course at St Andrews and Kingsbarns.
Hollywood and sporting stars playing the courses this weekend include Jamie Dornan, Hugh Grant, Matthew Goode, Luis Figo and Ruud Gullit.
Some of the cream of the golfing crop will be playing in the tournament, which offers prize money of about $5m.
Current Masters champion Danny Willett and members of the European Ryder Cup team including Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Pieters, Lee Westwood and captain Darren Clarke have been confirmed. But Mr Lang said every aircraft and its passengers are treated with the same high standard.
He said: “Every year, as the planes start to land, we don’t have a clue who is going to be on them.
“What matters to us is we have everything operating smoothly and each passenger on the runway is given the best service. The VIPs coming for the Dunhill have the same importance as daily commuters using the London and Amsterdam links.”
Local B&Bs and restaurants are also expected to benefit from the fans attending the event.
Ruth Muirhead, of the Seaview Guesthouse in Carnoustie, thinks the tournament is a great boon for businesses across the area.
She said: “It’s definitely a good thing and will bring much-needed money in to the area.”