26 March 2015, A Yorkshire entrepreneur and flying enthusiast is to launch commercial flying from a former RAF base in North Yorkshire after buying it from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
National property consultancy Carter Jonas acted for local businessman Chris Makin of Makin Enterprises, in the purchase of RAF Church Fenton.
Located near to the industrial heartlands of Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield meant that RAF Church Fenton was one of the country's most important airfields during the Second World War. The site comprises 450 acres with two paved runways (1,800m long and 46m wide) and 200,000 sq ft of buildings. The Ministry of Defence decommissioned it in December 2013 as part of cost-cutting measures.
Mr Makin intends to develop the site as a base for private and business aviation. Other plans for the site include opening a training school for fixed wing and helicopter training catering for private and commercial pilots. Along with further developments on the site the former RAF base will create 100 jobs within the next five years.
Chris Makin said: "I'm passionate about aviation and keen to return this historic site to its full operational glory. We've received overwhelming support from the community and had incredible interest from people wanting to base their planes in hangars at Church Fenton. This airfield has unlimited potential for growth and suited developments, from commercial storage to business aviation. With fantastic rail links and sound geographical placement we will soon offer an outstanding gateway to visitors to the region."
David Aspland, Carter Jonas' head of commercial in Leeds, said: "We are delighted to secure continued aviation use at this landmark site. Together with Makin Enterprises, we will work with the local community and planners to fully embrace the site's flying history, while developing additional uses to ensure its healthy future."
The official handover of the site to Makin Enterprises was marked with a ‘fly-in' with over 250 light aircraft and 800 visitors at the airfield near Tadcaster. Pilots, visitors and local residents were united in their support and well wishes for the new owners to develop the airfield into a successful aviation business.