NEWS that a deal has been signed, securing the operational future of Shoreham Airport, has been cautiously welcomed.
East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton said he was pleased the long-running negotiations between leaseholder Albemarle Shoreham Airport and Brighton City Airport had been completed.
But he still wanted to see evidence the £1m needed for urgent restoration works at the Grade II* listed terminal building would be made available.
Airside operations are set to grow and positive changes are being made to safeguard the airport’s future, Brighton City Airport announced on Monday to mark its signing of a new 30-year contract.
Jonathan Candelon, managing director, said his company had been managing airside operations since August 2013.
The new contract secured the airport as an asset for the community, which had always been uppermost in the minds of the management team, he added.
“We work closely with the airport users and we have implemented numerous, positive changes to improve efficiency and safeguard the future of the airport.
“We look forward to further increasing airport movements and profitability at the airport, to protect this important asset for the users, tenants, owners and the local community.”
Albemarle, meanwhile, is responsible for the long-awaited refurbishment of the terminal building. The company stated on Monday its intention to finance the costs and complete the work.
Scaffolding was in place, ready to start the refurbishment process, and work was due to commence shortly, the company said.
Mr Loughton commented: “Albermarle still has serious questions to answer about its own intentions regarding the non-flying operations.
“As part of the deal, Albermarle have undertaken to finance the refurbishment of the terminal building, as they are obliged to under the terms of the lease with Worthing and Brighton and Hove City councils.
“This is likely to be in the area of £1m and they need to demonstrate that they have the resources to undertake the work and get on with it urgently.
“There are a number of other issues which they need to finalise with the landlords before we can be confident that the long-term future of the airport as a whole has been secured, but this is a good start.”
Mr Loughton said Brighton City Airport had done a good job running operations on a temporary basis and he was pleased it would now be taking on the role on a permanent basis.
“BCAL is committed to establishing Shoreham as the centre of its national operations and is only focussed on flying activities, already accounting for a half of all touch downs at Shoreham through its successful training school, which has been expanding,” he added.
“I look forward to seeing the considerable investment which they have identified to ensure this important airport goes from strength to strength.”
Mr Loughton has agreed to hold a public meeting with the Shoreham Society on October 20, where he hopes more details will be forthcoming from those directly involved in the deal.