Airport owners say they will not move into RAF Lakenheath or Mildenhall if bases are shut down
16:16 23 April 2014
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012
One of the region’s biggest airports has said it would not be interested in taking over either of west Suffolk’s US Air Force bases should they be closed.
Marshall of Cambridge, which runs Cambridge International Airport, has distanced itself from moving into either RAF Mildenhall or RAF Lakenheath should they be shut down under the US military’s ongoing European Infrastructure Consolidation (EIC).
Marshall, which also has an aerospace division and a number of defence maintenance contracts, had discussed moving part of its operation to Mildenhall to make way for housing, but the move was blocked back in 2009.
Terry Holloway, Marshall’s support executive, said that while Mildenhall had been identified as the “most promising” option for any relocation, he added: “It wasn’t two years ago we said we’re not moving.
“Even if one of them did close, we’re very-well positioned here, with Cambridge International Airport growing. We went through the relocation site, we have plenty of work to come into our hangers. We just won’t be moving.”
RAF Lakenheath was recommended for closure in two of three options put forward by consultancy firm RAND over how the US military could restructure its presence overseas. The other option would see the base downsized significantly, with its resident 48th Fighter Wing moving out.
While any decision would be made by senior officials in America, sources close to the bases increasingly believe that RAF Mildenhall would be the more likely to close, with the operations there moving over to RAF Lakenheath.
Although Mildenhall’s 100th Air Refuelling Wing is considered more important strategically than Lakenheath’s fighter squadron, the infrastructure and facilities are better at Lakenheath, such as the hospital serving both bases.
The results of the EIC are expected to be announced later this year.