A HUGE new building under way at Oxford Airport is part of a wider regeneration project to replace old, outdated hangars with new, environmentally-friendly ones, managers have said.

A photograph of the new 'garaging hangar' being built at the site in Kidlington was sent to the Oxford Mail last week, after a planning application for another new hangar at the site caused some local concern.

Managing director Will Curtis has now said that the garaging hangar, set to be complete in November, will rehouse aircraft and businesses already on site but that are housed in 80-year-old hangars which are no longer fit for purpose.

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He said: “We’ve got lots of businesses at the moment that are located in World War Two, 80-year-old hangars that are leaking, that you can’t heat properly without being massively environmentally unfriendly.

“They don’t have any renewable energy, there’s no insulation and so we are replacing them with buildings that are environmentally efficient.”

The planning application which caused concern seeks permission for a new hangar for Airbus, which supports the UK’s police, air ambulance and military helicopters and is already based at the site.

A total of 25 companies are based at Oxford Airport, with 1,500 workers. Many companies perform maintenance work on aircraft at the site.

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Mr Curtis added: “Our plan here is to regenerate the airport buildings, but in the long run we will not be reusing those buildings they will probably be replaced with something more in line with Cherwell District Council’s planning policy which is high-tech research development type buildings.”

He said that the hangar being constructed - which was approved last year - and the entire project would not result in an overall increase in air traffic.

He said: “We don’t see the airport getting busier, in fact we see there being progressively fewer air traffic movement. Our emphasis is to get more value from each landing.

"We see that our future lies in engineering maintenance companies where an aircraft lands, comes in for maintenance for two or three weeks and then goes again.

"So you've got two or three weeks of high-tech skilled labour input and we want those jobs to go to local people who will get apprenticeship training to work on aircrafts."