Aerospace giant eyes Cranfield for its new HQ

May 15, 2019

INTERNATIONAL defence company Marshall of Cambridge has identified Cranfield Airport as one of three potential locations for its new headquarters.

The company has concluded that it must move in order to realise its growth plans and is in early talks with Cranfield as well as RAF Duxford and RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire.

Marshall chief executive Alistair McPhee said: “It has become increasingly clear that a move to new, purpose-built facilities will afford us a fantastic opportunity to fulfil our true potential as a business.

“It is still very early days but we know that finding the right airfield location that will give us the necessary space and flexibility to support our planned growth, which is close enough to Cambridge to enable us to retain and attract talent, will be a complex and time-consuming task.”

Marshall will work with all three locations over the coming months to assess their feasibility, he added. The company expects to make an announcement some time next year and intends to move by 2030.

Cranfield University, which operates the airport, has ambitious plans to develop the airfield as a research centre. It was the first airport in the UK to install a digital air traffic control centre and is developing the £67 million Digital Aviation Research Technology Centre.

University vice-chancellor and chief executive Professor Sir Peter Gregson said: “These are early-stage discussions but we are excited about this potential development on the Cranfield Air Park and look forward to having future productive discussions with Marshall.

“Cranfield has ambitious plans for our global research airport. These discussions with Marshalls are aligned with our approved Air Park and Masterplan planning applications.”

To finance the move, the Marshall Group has signalled its intent to the local authorities and other key stakeholders to put the Cambridge Airport site forward for development as part of the next Local Plan from 2030. However, it remains remain committed to investment plans for the site that will see Marshall spend more than £30 million over the next five years to upgrade existing infrastructure, said Mr McPhee.

“We have won a number of very significant programmes over the past 18 months and delivering those, along with continuing to support our long-term customers, will be our key priority as we plan for the next exciting chapter of our history.”

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