A commemorative flight to mark the main runway at the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus being resurfaced by Fareham Borough Council at a cost of £1.5m took place today.
The work will extend the lifespan of the airfield and is an important step towards getting a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Aerodrome licence, which will help attract more private aviation investment and use.
The project, funded by Fareham Borough Council and completed by contractors Raymond Brown, included resurfacing and relining of the main runway, repairs to taxiways and the installation of ducting to enable the future provision of runway lighting.
Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Seán Woodward, who piloted the first flight, said: "The upgraded runway is an important step towards gaining the CAA licence that will allow a greater variety of planes to use the airfield and boost the already healthy aviation community on the Solent Enterprise Zone. When we take ownership of the site we will be responsible for investment over the life of the Enterprise Zone totalling some £50,000,000 which will boost the local economy. This is in addition to the investment being made by Hampshire County Council and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership in new roads to improve access to the Zone. "
Andy Walters from Regional & City Airports (RCA) said "RCA are proud to be so integral to the building of the legacy of Daedalus. With efforts focused on opening up the Airfield to more aircraft and business opportunities, CAA licensing will crown a very important investment into jobs, wealth and prosperity opportunities for the local community and providing an attractive and prime General Aviation hub in the South Coast."
Jon Butts, Lee Flying Association "LFA applauds the renewal of the main runway, which secures the future of flying operations at Daedalus Aerodrome and EZ, enables aviation sector investment in new hangars, employment and recreational flying opportunities - and preserves for the long term the locally highly valued open aerodrome space as we enter a second century of aviation at Daedalus."
Esther Croft, HCA area manager, said: "The progress made on the new runway is further evidence that the Solent Enterprise Zone is open for business. It demonstrates the confidence partners and investors have in the project's long-term future and would not have happened without their support over the last two years. It's great news for the area and will act as a catalyst for further growth at the enterprise zone."
The improvements to the runway are part of an £8.3m package of investment by Fareham Borough Council at the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus, with the aim of transforming it into a business destination with 3,500 jobs in aviation, aerospace and marine engineering.
A video showing drone footage of the runway improvements can be viewed here.
Drone video supplied courtesy of Raymond Brown
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