Make sure we change the game
TODAY we reveal how Viable, the group hoping to reopen Plymouth City Airport, has written to the council to formally express its interest in the site.
Naturally, we wish them well. The Herald has made no secret of its desire for the runway to be safeguarded and for profitable air services to restart as soon as possible.
But Viable has a lot of work to do. Big questions remain over where it will get the money to deliver its plans. And its announcement that it wishes to acquire the freehold of the land from the council should not pass without scrutiny.
Sutton Harbour Holdings, is acting with clarity and honesty - it is a development company which has a duty to maximise profits for its shareholders. It tried and failed to run a commercially successful airline from the site they lease from Plymouth City Council and it has now concluded the only profitable way forward for them is development.
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If Viable were to try and fail we would be in a position where not just the lease but the freehold of the land would be in the hands of a company which may similarly conclude that the bulldozer is the only profitable answer.
This is speculation and Viable deserve every opportunity to demonstrate it can breathe new life into our airport. But it is important that if the long term interests of this city be served and our airport is to be protected then safeguards need to be put in place to guarantee the future use of the land.
We do not want to discover that we have changed the players but the game remains the same.