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View from the cockpit

Release date:
October 2021
Montage of images showing La Nava's runway, lodges and Javier Medem owner (right)
Located in Castilla La Mancha, La Nava is one of the most exclusive private estates in Spain. Ahead of this year’s busy winter season, owner Javier Medem explains why having a runway offering fuelling services next to the estate is integral to his business model


Can you tell us about La Nava?

La Nava is one of the most exclusive lodges in Spain, if not Europe. We offer a range of outdoor country sports and activities and with 14 double bedrooms, a gym, spa and swimming pool the lodge is an ideal location for private meetings, exclusive events, weddings and family gatherings. We are open year-round with our shooting season stretching from October to February - La Nava is well-known for being the finest shooting organisation in Europe. During our spring/ summer season from March to September we are more focused on corporate events and private gatherings for friends and family groups.


When did you introduce the runway (La Perdiz)?

Although we opened the lodge to guests in 1992, it wasn’t until five years later that we opened a runway. In the late 90s it was considered quite revolutionary to build a runway on a private estate, but we realised that being able to offer guests the option to fly almost directly to our door would be hugely beneficial in the long term. The late Olivier Dassault [of the family-owned Dassault Group which makes Falcon private jets and Rafale fighter planes], who I had worked for previously and who was a regular guest at La Nava, was also insistent that a runway was needed and was instrumental in its planning.  The first runway opened in 1997 as a short, dirt runway of 820m. In 2000 it was replaced with a 970m concrete runway. This was then extended in 2004 by 500m and in 2013 by another 400m to 1900m. In September 2021 the runway, which is now 30m wide and known as La Perdiz, was upgraded to Category 2C.


What sort of jets can land at La Perdiz?

We can accept a range of private jets including the Gulfstream 650 and the Falcon 7X. La Perdiz is dedicated to La Nava and is used solely by those visiting the estate. We cater for somewhere between 180-200 aircraft per year, so the hospitality team that take care of the estate are also responsible for managing the runway.


Why is it important to be able to accommodate passengers travelling by air?

Ours is one of only a handful of private estates with its own runway in Europe. When we first raised the idea of building a runway many of our competitors thought we would bankrupt ourselves. But on the contrary it has been hugely beneficial to our business. More than 90% of our guests arrive by private jet as they can literally fly straight to the front door of the estate. La Nava is also a great base for those wanting to come on holiday but explore other areas of Spain as we are essentially no more than a 45-minute flight from any other city in Spain.


Where do your guests typically originate from?

We have guests arriving from all over the world – the US, South America, the Middle East, Russia, Europe. Anyone flying from a Schengen country can fly directly to La Perdiz and anyone flying from outside the Schengen region we recommend flying via either Granada or Ciudad Real airports to undergo the necessary immigration processes.


How do you benefit from your collaboration with Air bp?

Given most of our guests arrive by air having a safe, reliable fuel supply is integral to our business and Air bp is a brand that our customers know and trust. Our ability to offer a refuelling service also means arriving aircraft don’t need to carry excess fuel when landing. They simply need enough fuel for their inbound flight as they can refuel with us before taking off again. In addition, being on Air bp’s network also makes it easy for pilots to access information about flying to and from La Perdiz.


How are you working to protect the flora and fauna surrounding the estate and runway?

We are committed to social development and environmental goals and extremely conscientious of the natural landscape surrounding us and how we can help preserve it. We have planted trees around the estate, used environmentally friendly paint when painting the runway and we are constantly working with local conservation projects in terms of preserving local wildlife species. We are also incredibly proud to have within our boundary the biggest population of lynx in terms of density in Spain and possibly Europe. But the runway is well protected from wildlife strike, it is surrounded by double fencing, and we check the runway ahead of any aircraft landing.


What do the coming months hold for La Nava?

The last year has been tough across the industry. But we’re optimistic about the months ahead. Having a runway just footsteps away from the estate will be integral to our recovery. The seamless combination of flying privately and staying in a private property is very appealing for those who might not have considered it before. And we’ve learnt a lot since last year. We now roster our staff. They work in different groups and on different schedules, so they don’t mix. If we have to work temporarily without one team due to COVID we can. And while we have always been diligent about cleaning and hygiene we are even more so now. But most of all, I’m excited about what lies ahead and we are looking forward to welcoming our guests for the upcoming season.


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