But more ambitious plans for a new commercial passenger airport are now “unlikely”, according to to the leader of Shropshire Council.
Councillor Peter Nutting began his tenure with a bold call to develop a commercial airport in the county, with RAF Cosford being earmarked as a potential location.
But after discussions, Councillor Nutting says he is now looking to freight as an option for the future.
He said: “There is a suggestion that there might be some scope for work with freight by air, but it’s unlikely we are going to go far with passenger transport in Shropshire.”
Councillor Nutting says the idea is still worth pursuing, even if it is on the back burner for now.
It was this month announced that a specialist aviation academy will be created at RAF Cosford, which could potentially create hundreds of new jobs, and he believes that could still act as a catalyst.
“We are going to concentrate with the training school to start with as we think that is important,” said Councillor Nutting.
“We are talking to various organisations, but there is no major step forward and we don’t have the money, so we need partners to do it.
“The big people we have been talking to have said it’s too near to Birmingham Airport for passenger flights.
“But there is more scope for freight. So it’s not dead, but we are doing so many other things we have put that one on the back burner for the moment. Certainly if we can sort out Cosford with extra training and extra engineering then that would be a good start in the aircraft industry.”
As well as the academy the area around RAF Cosford is the focus of some potential developments, which include taking sections of the area out of the green belt, which Mr Nutting says there is little objection to locally.
Currently Shropshire Council is investigating the possibility of allowing developers to create a new 3,000-home town on land at Tong, near to Cosford, and next to the M54.
The proposal, which comes under plans for what the council calls the ‘M54 corridor’, also includes around 50 hectares of employment land. It will go out to consultation later this year.
In reports outlining the plan, which has been put forward by land owner The Bradford Estates, council officers said the development would be related to RAF Cosford and any future developments that may happen there.