The government has confirmed there will be no further military use for RAF Coltishall in Norfolk after it closes in December 2006.
The 740-acre site has been home to Jaguar jets since 1974
There had been speculation the base could have been used for some other military purpose.
But defence minister Don Touhig told local MPs Norman Lamb and Keith Simpson that RAF Coltishall was "surplus to defence requirements".
Other government departments now have 40 days to declare an interest in it.
Keith Simpson, MP for mid-Norfolk, has been one of those campaigning for the government to make a speedy decision over the future of the base.
He thought it unlikely any other government department would show an interest in the airbase.
"The good news is that they have actually told us now rather than faffing around and making a decision close to Christmas," he told the BBC.
"It's going to put real pressure on all of us to look at what the alternatives are.
"The government wants us to be as innovative and flexible as possible in considering alternative uses for Coltishall.
"We're looking forward to getting in and developing the planning that has already been done."
The 740-acre site has been home to Jaguar jets since 1974.
A quarter of the local primary schools are filled by the children of RAF personnel and many civilians in the area supply and work for the base.
Its closure was announced in July last year as part of large cuts in the armed forces.