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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Deal secures airport's future
Plymouth Airport runway
New safety requirements put the future of Plymouth Airport in doubt
A deal has been finalised to ensure a Devon airport is not closed over safety concerns.

Work is required at Plymouth Airport to increase runway safety zones in line with new Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requirements.

But there were fears that delays over funding the improvements might lead to the CAA closing the airport down.

However, an agreement has now been reached between the Regional Development Agency (RDA) and Plymouth City Council to secure 4m of grant funding.

More money should be confirmed by the government shortly to allow the work to proceed.

We are hugely grateful that, in the nick of time, the RDA have made up their mind to support this
Charles Howeson, Plymouth Chamber of Commerce chairman

Plymouth Airport is badly hemmed in by development, making it difficult to extend the runway safety areas.

But a plan was drawn up several years ago to realign the nearby A386 Tavistock Road to create the extra space needed.

However, that plan hinged on millions of pounds of funding coming from the RDA and the government.

The new deal should safeguard the future of the airport for at least the next five to 10 years.

Significant development

Plymouth Chamber of Commerce chairman Charles Howeson said it was a significant development.

"This is terribly important because we were running out of time in terms of our airport obeying the rules.

"We clearly needed to spend some money to do the things required.

"That money is now going to be supplied by the RDA and we are hugely grateful that, in the nick of time, they have made up their mind to support this."

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