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Busy UK airfield to be sold by local council

One of the UK’s busiest general aviation (GA) airports is being put up for sale after the two councils that own it confirmed their intention to sell.

Gloucestershire Airport is being put up for sale by Cheltenham Borough and Gloucester City Councils, who say they “are seeking new investment for the
airport and are expected to instruct advisors to bring it to market in the near future”.

Commenting on the announcement, airport director Jason Ivey said: “The timing’s right to seek new investment, expertise and resources – it makes commercial sense for everyone. The airport’s a real asset for Gloucestershire and with the right investment it can play an even greater role in unlocking regional growth and supporting exciting projects like the Golden Valley development.”

Councillor Rowena Hay, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “The future of the airport and the contribution both the airport and the businesses located there make to the regional economy is well recognised. The timing is now right for both councils to bring in a new owner to take it forward.”

Paul Jones, executive director for finance, assets and regeneration for Cheltenham Borough Council, added: “The councils are looking forward to working with the airport to secure the best all round result that will deliver for the business, local taxpayers and the wider economy.”

Councillor Richard Cook, leader of Gloucester City Council, reiterated this view: “Both councils are committed to preserving the airport as a centre for aviation for the benefit of Gloucestershire, especially given its extensive heritage. It plays a hugely important role within the region and we hope that a new owner will take it to the next level.”

The existing 300-acre Gloucestershire Airport site was formed in 1936 and originally named Staverton Airport. In 1993 Gloucester City and Cheltenham Borough Councils formed a new jointly-owned company, Gloucestershire Airport Limited, which operates the airport under a 999 year lease.

Today, Gloucestershire Airport is one of the UK’s busiest general aviation airports, ranking in the CAA’s top 15 airports for aircraft movements. It is home to a number of fixed-wing and rotary PPL schools as well as larger commercial flight training schools, training hundreds of new pilots each year.

Despite the two councils’ stated commitments to preserve the airport as a going concern, there are nonetheless concerns over its future after it was revealed by city councillor Jeremy Hilton that the first party to show an interest in buying the airport has no prior experience in airport operations.

According to Gloucestershire Live, this news sparked anger and frustration among local opposition groups who say they have been kept completely in the dark over the move and are concerned about the site being run down and sold off for housing after the sale is complete.

Author: FTN Editor

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