Proposals to expand Shoreham airport have taken a step forward following a recommendation its owners should test the market on private investment.
Private sector views will be sought on the future of the airport
An influential committee has made the suggestions to the airport's owners - Brighton & Hove City Council and Worthing Borough Council.
Views from the private sector will now be sought on its regeneration.
Two other options are either to increase the amount of flights or to extend the runway for larger aircraft.
The recommendation that the airport's future could depend on finding private investment was made by a joint authority member task group.
It followed an extensive study to consider the regeneration vision and future of the airport, which began in March 2003 and included public consultation.
Both local authorities are due to consider the report, but objections over increased noise levels and extra traffic movements are still on the minds of local campaigners objecting to the idea.
Issues have also been raised about the environmental impact on the local area.
But leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Ken Bodfish, has made clear the main priority remains the airport itself.
"As joint owner, our first consideration must go to safeguarding the airport's financial future."
Deputy leader of Worthing Borough Council, John Lovell, said due consideration would also be given to "the regeneration future of the whole south coast".