After an exciting 16 year career as an RAF fighter pilot Jock Maitland came to Biggin Hill in 1958. The airfield had just closed as an RAF operational base and he took a seven year lease to open and operate it as a civilian Airfield. Despite no guarantee of long term tenure, he took on the job of running and developing the airport. It was a precarious business with no air traffic control, customs or runway lighting. He was unable to negotiate a long-term lease, and after the expiry of the original lease he had to be satisfied with annual renewals usually after much frustrating negotiation. No one else had been willing to take on the original lease and it is very unlikely that anyone would have been prepared to continue to operate this difficult business in such a precarious way. Without Maitland’s tenacity it is almost certain that the Airfield would have been closed and built over.
He also founded a flying club, a small aircraft charter business (Maitland Drewery Air) , an executive aircraft charter business and, in 1963, the Biggin Hill Air Fair. In 1975 Maitland established Air Displays International and, over 30 years, he and his second son ,Jim, who joined him in 1983, organised over 100 air shows around the country in addition to the annual event at Biggin Hill.
In 1986 he retired from running the Airfield and in 2006 from running the Air Fair, the following year he was appointed MBE.
His son Jim continues the Maitland presence, running his experience gift company intotheblue.co.uk who specialise in flying and Spitfire Experiences from premises on the Airfield.