A MULTI-MILLION pound scheme to upgrade a Hampshire airport could create 1,000 new jobs.
Plans have been approved to build 11 hangars, each measuring 6,000 sq ft, for a mixture of commercial and aviation use at Solent Airport (formerly HMS Daedalus) at Lee-on-Solent
Fareham Borough Council, which owns the airport, says the scheme will double its capacity.
Of the 11 new hangars, six will be for businesses in the aviation and marine sectors, and the remaining five will be for aircraft storage. They will be built on unused land adjacent to the disused north-south runway.
Currently, the site has a dozen or so hangars, some which could also be refurbished.
The airport currently has around 20,000 flights per year – all private or business – but that figure is expected to double after the new hangars are completed.
Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council said: “The scheme will help to develop Daedalus, proving that business is indeed booming at the airport.
“We have always targeted the business sector to become a prime business airport and consequently we already have a lot of very interested business looking rent their own hangars on the site.”
The scheme follows a rebranding of Daedalus last year as Solent Airport and the new hangars are part of a £50m masterplan to transform the site into a business airport.
The council hopes the airport expansion could eventually create 3,500 jobs over the next decade.
Maureen Frost, chief executive of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the aviation investment.
She said: “This is very positive news and shows confidence in the future of Daedalus as a business hub, aviation is an important sector for Hampshire and these plans will inevitably lead to more jobs in the area.”
Construction will commence next month and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Other recent investments at the airport include:
A new seating area and transformation of the control tower into a viewing platform for aviation enthusiasts to watch the planes in action
The opening of a café, new toilets and an extension to the car park.
A new runway
Upgrading air traffic control facilities
At this week’s meeting of the borough council’s executive it was revealed that the authority has awarded two multi-million pound contracts to two ‘highly reputed’ construction companies, which have yet to be named due “commercial confidentiality”.
Current tenants of the site include aircraft manufacturers Britten Norman, Atlas Helicopters, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Solent Microlight Group and Portsmouth Naval Flying Association.