BRIGHTON City Airport is set to take over operations at Shoreham Airport.
The move was agreed by Brighton and Hove Council’s policy and resources committee yesterday, despite opposition from pilots.
The company said its plans would safeguard the long-term future of Shoreham Airport.
Managing director Jonathan Candelon said: “BCAL works closely with the airport stakeholders and we have implemented numerous, positive changes to improve efficiency and safeguard the future of the airport.
“With key investments planned for the main Grade II* listed terminal building and the municipal hangar, we plan to commence work within six months of contracts being signed.”
He said infrastructure investments had already been made in systems, software and hardware at the airport, and BCAL had other plans for improvements, designed to protect, preserve and enhance the airport as an asset for the local, business and aviation community.
The decision to change the leaseholder, subject to contracts, concludes negotiation with the city council and Worthing Borough Council, joint owners of the airport.
Brighton City Airport (BCAL) has submitted a business plan which it says will secure the sustainable and profitable future of the airport, with investment in the Grade II* listed terminal building and hangar.
Albemarle, the current operator, has agreed to surrender the lease and operations at the airport to BCAL.
Directors of BCAL maintain that with the right investment, the airport could become profitable, and have presented details of their business plan to officers of both councils.
Worthing Borough Council has already given its approval.
John Mitchell, director for communities at Worthing Council, said: “Brighton and Hove City Council and Worthing Borough Council have been working with Albemarle Shoreham Airport Limited and Brighton City Airport Limited to explore new management arrangements that will protect the future of the airport and secure much-needed investment in its unique facilities. We believe that the current proposals represent the best opportunity to achieve these aims.”
BCAL, founded in July last year, has managed the airside operations at Shoreham since August and has transferred existing airport staff to BCAL under TUPE, to ensure there are no redundancies and to secure local jobs.
With revenue and aircraft movements up, BCAL is positive about the future for Shoreham Airport, one of the busiest in the UK in terms of movements, including take offs and landings.
In August last year, Shoreham Airport was the 10th busiest in the UK in terms of movements, with Heathrow in first position. This financial year, the airport is on target for a total of 57,000 movements, which sets the airport on course to make a profit, according to BCAL.
The airport has a diverse client base, including the military, law enforcement, air ambulance, corporate jets, helicopters, flight training schools (attracting students from all over the world) and private charter companies as well as the coastguard.
Geoff Raw, executive director environment, development and housing at Brighton and Hove City Council, said after last night’s meeting: “This is a superb opportunity to see the airport at Shoreham grow into a sustainable business which creates jobs and realises the sites potential while protecting its heritage.”
See the Shoreham Herald and Lancing Herald on Thursday for a special report on Shoreham Airport.