Basil O’Fee – Summary Profile

Basil originally founded Northpoint Aviation Services in 2010 to address a cluster of aviation issues; bringing in Chris Cain in 2013 who now is the company’s MD.  Since then the company has assembled a team of associates, and a wider network of collaborators, who are deployed for various aviation challenges.   Prior to aviation Basil had various business development roles including an import business 1985-1993, IT 1993-1996, and then airline Commercial Director 1997-2010.

Secretariat and expert support roles in various trade body collaborations (Smart Peripheral and Remote Airports 2020), the UK Regional and Business Airports Group, the 2014/15 National Connectivity Taskforce, The Baltic Bird Project (2014) and the 2014 All Party Parliamentary Group on Regional Aviation, and the 2018 All Party Parliamentary Group on Regional Airports.

Extensive experience in preparing business plans, operations manuals, commercial tenders, a company buy-out, research & consultancy reports.  A particular forte has been the ability to pioneer completely new markets and income streams.

Reports and studies over previous decade

  • Represented Spanish charter operator Aeronova S. L. in the UK market – 2011-2013
  • Airfreight in the Highlands & islands – May 2012
  • Demand assessment of weekend PSO air services at Campbeltown Airport-August 2012
  • Oil and Gas database development-2012
  • Review of Outer Hebrides PSO Air Services – August 2012
  • Business Aviation analysis at Biggin Hill Airport – September 2012
  • Input into Outer Hebrides PSO Air Contract – September 2012
  • Scoping study on future opportunities for Dundee Airport – 2013
  • Cambridge Airport – Business development work on Business Aviation – 2011
  • Moderation and elaboration of PSO/RDF application guidelines Baltic Bird EU project – January – November 2013
  • Input into Varkus & Savonlinna’s Finnish PSO ITT and contract
  • Tourism Destination Development Guidelines Baltic Bird EU project – 2013
  • Scottish Western Seaboard PSO Air Service Development Opportunities –2013
  • Strategic support for Donegal Airport’s submission to 2013 Irish Aviation review and Savonlinna’s lobbying within Finland.
  • UK Regional Access to London report for London Gatwick Airport -2014
  • Secretariat and Research Paper support for the National Connectivity Taskforce (NCTF) – 2014/2015
  • Drafting responses for various clients for the Airports Commission – HITRANS, Nestrans, Newquay Airport, Regional and Business Airports Group, and Flybe
  • Secretariat and Research Function of UK Regional and Business Airports Group (37 Airports) – 2013-2017
  • Secretariat Support for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Regional Aviation including arranging a range of hearings on relevant topics – 2014
  • STAG 1 Appraisal – support work for Orkney Isles internal transport review – 2014
  • Review of Shetland inter islands air service as part of a comprehensive inter islands transport review – 2015
  • Presenting to French Alpha-ACI Regional Airports Group on PSOs – 2015
  • Revising the Croatian Government’s domestic air service network (12 PSO routes involved) – 2015
  • Work on State Aid in Aviation for a range of clients including Biggin Hill, Oxford Airport and the NCTF.
  • Research on long haul tourism and the UK regions for the NCTF.
  • Appointed Expert Support for 2 year part time contract for lead partner in SPARA 2020 project – June 2016
  • STAG 2 Appraisal – support work for Orkney Isles internal transport review – 2016
  • STAG 2 Appraisal – support work for Shetland Isles internal transport review – 2016
  • Review of Route Development Options and Strategies for South Ayrshire Council (Prestwick Airport)
  • Western Isles PSO review – Summer 2016
  • Drafting HITRANS response to consultation on Scottish replacement to APD – July 2016
  • Scottish Internal Air Services Research – Scoping Review – HITRANS 2016
  • Prepared RABA response to DG-MOVE PSO Guidelines Targeted Consultation – August 2016
  • Transport for New South Wales – supporting University of Sydney workpackage looking at strategies for their regional air services, including benchmarking remote air services within Europe, Canada and USA
  • Extensive multi workpack reviews of the Welsh PSO and route development opportunities and derivative issues and opportunities for the Welsh Government – 2016/17
  • 2016/2017 involved in original research connected with sector specific issues for the Regional and Business Airports Group.
  • Scottish Government Food and Drink Logistics Study. Northpoint covered the airfreight dimension to this multimodal  transport study, with recommendations made (2019)
  • Advised NI DfE on state air compliant air route development options (2019)
  • Sub Partner work on airfreight resilience for Scottish Government (2019)
  • Authored Aviation Green Paper consultation collective Highland submission for HITRANS, HIAL and HIE (2019)
  • Work for States of Guernsey and Alderney on their subsidised air services to Alderney and Southampton
  • Work for Caithness CofC on possible PSO solution for their air connectivity challenges- Socio Economic Report; Business Case Report; Post Covid budget options 2019-2021.  Subsequently morphed into work for Highland Council on PSO tendering.
  • Work on post Covid Northern Ireland Domestic Aviation Kickstart Scheme (NIDAKS) 2021
  • Long standing project for Independent Transport Commission, SASIG and UK CAA on the policy and regulatory implications of emerging aviation technologies. Involving high profile expert roundtables, online Questionnaire and Working Papers on various relevant technologies.
  • City of Derry Airport 2021 – Multimodal carbon assessment report examining routes and terrestrial alternatives.
  • Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media – work on business case for acquiring Connemara Airport and on their need to undertake a PSO competition for their air services to Aran islands
  • Extensive work supporting Welsh Government on their PSO tendering exercise and on PSO for other UK routes.
  • 2020/21/22 Submissions to Robert Courts (Aviation Minister), Union Connectivity Review, HMT APD, JetZero Consultations; Transport Select Cttee and Scottish Affairs Ctte; Transport Scotland Aviation Strategy Consultation
Employment History

Commercial Director Highland Airways

Helped take a small Inverness air operator from £400,000 annual t/o to £11,000,000 t/o between 1997 & 2009  – from 6 to 120 employees.  In 2006, along with senior management, organised an MBO of the company from its previous owners.

Pioneered completely new markets for the company – airfreight, a decade of oil and gas charter work, airfreight contracts with Royal Mail and Scottish Daily Newspaper Society,  public subsidised scheduled passenger services in Scotland, Finland (FlyLappeenranta) and Wales, won contracts with Bae Systems and Babcock Naval and an aerial reconnaissance contract with Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency.  Contracts were usually in the £1 – £1.5m pa range.

Acted as the spokesman and ambassador for the airline.  This included networking with public representatives MPs, MSPs and councillors, civil servants, industry and business association leaders and liaising with customers.  It also included dealing with the TV, radio and press; notably being interviewed by Eddie Mair on Radio 4’s PM news programme.

Business Development Roles

Have been working with a client, helping them develop their presence in the oil and gas sector.  In 2011, wrote what essentially became their marketing plan and was then asked to help with the implementation.  Initially focused on Aberdeen, the brief has extended to worldwide tracking of opportunities.   Monitor O&G E&P industry developments using trade press and online research.

Other smaller business development projects have included UK promotion for a Spanish air operator and a diversification initiative for a digital media producer.

Business Organisations

Member of Air Transport Research Society

Cranfield University Faculty of Air Transport Curriculum Advisory Board 2006-2009

Member of various business organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Scottish Council for Development and Industry (current), and The British Business and General Aviation Association.  Exhibited at shows such as Routes & Offshore Europe.

Speaker at various route launches, aviation and business conferences and seminars – Aviation in Remote Regions, Highland transport forum, Royal Aeronautical Society, Baltic Bird meetings in Seinajöki, Helsinki, Orkney, Tallinn, Ivalo, and Bodø, and NPP workshops in Reykjavik, Copenhagen, Strathpeffer and Inverness; presented to CPMR Political Forum in Inverness in 2014, and the CPMR Transport and Insularity Seminar in Palma in 2016 and papers at ATRS annual conferences in Bordeaux (2014); Antwerp (2017); Amsterdam (2019).  Presented to Trafikverket (Sweden) seminar on their domestic PSO system in 2017.


– MA – Education & Geography, University of Cambridge & p.g.c.e.

– Cranfield University 1990 College of Management part-time 6-month course in Business Enterprise Development Programme

– Department of Air Transport 2002 Air Transport Management short course

Papers and Publications

Merkert, R. and O’Fee, B. (2013): Efficient procurement of public air services – Lessons learned from European transport authorities’ perspectives, Transport Policy, 29, 118–125.

O’Fee B and Merkert R  ‘Analysing the different legal  interpretations and uses of PSOs across Europe – A transport authority perspective’, 7th International Conference on Air Transport in Remoter Regions, Newquay, United Kingdom, April 2011.  Chapter in book on Air Transport Provision in Remoter Regions by George Williams and Svein Bråthen- entitled Tendering for and operating PSO routes.

Merkert, R. and O’Fee (2016): Managerial perceptions of incentives for and barriers to competing for regional PSO air service contracts, Transport Policy, 47, 22–33.

Article on PSOs in European Regional Airline Association Regional International Magazine Jan/Feb 2016

Official Reviewer for Journal of Air Transport Management

Air Transport in Remoter Regions Book cover