Marshall Group is spending $32 million to turn Cambridge airport into one of southeast England's prime hubs for business aviation.
The family-owned aircraft modifications firm wants to more than double business jet movements to 7,000 a year, attract "high yield" feeder airline services, and develop empty land on the south of the airport into a "centre of aerospace excellence".
The group is interested only in aviation tenants that do not compete with its main Marshall Aerospace overhaul and repair activities, and is in talks with a flightcrew training provider and avionics repair specialist, says airport director Archie Garden.
In a bid to raise its service standards to the business aviation community, Cambridge has tendered out the running of its three-year-old fixed base operation at the airport to ExecuJet, which took over the facility in January.
Marshall has also recruited Steve Jones, former manager of Oxford airport and Abu Dhabi's Al Bateen Executive airport, to head its business aviation charter and maintenance units. Marshall Business Aviation is an authorised Cessna repair centre, based at Cambridge, while Marshall Executive Aviation runs three Cessna jets and a Bombardier Challenger 300.
Marshall Aerospace chief executive Steve Fitz-Gerald says both businesses have potential to grow. "There's a new Marshall Business Aviation coming to market this year," he says.
Cambridge's thriving high-tech and pharmaceutical industries are an untapped market for business aviation, says Garden. "We can offer clients a rapid, personalised service and we have no restrictions on movements or operating hours."