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The Queen’s Airport Confirmed to be Shut Down for Construction

Vital safety work is set to be carried out to replace the runway at RAF Northolt; which includes planes that carry the Monarch, other members of the Royal Family,  senior government figures and the Prime Minister.

Jets at the airport are set to be grounded and will instead have to use other airways while repairs of the runway go ahead.

The airport in north-west London hosts the air force’s Royal Squadron while also serving  The Queen and senior government figures.

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster confirmed that the major work was planned to take place throughout 2017.

In an answer in the Commons which was given before Parliament was dissolved, Lancaster said: “Spring 2018 the runway at RAF Northolt will close to complete improvements to its sub-structure and replace the runway arrestor beds.”

“The precise dates and length of the closure will be determined during the detailed planning phase, which will take place through 2017.”

It is currently unknown how much the vital repair works will cost as Mark Lancaster said that releasing the price information at this moment in time would “prejudice the Department’s commercial interests.”

The airfield was built in 1915 and was hit heavily in the Battle of Britain; despite 4,000 bombs being dropped within two miles of the airport over 15 months only two ever actually hit the airfield itself. The airfield was also home to Winston Churchill’s personal aircraft.

While the airport is taxpayer funded, there has been an increasing amount of private civil flights to and from the airport. In 2013, it was reported that the Ministry of Defence wanted to increase the number of private flights from 7,000 to 12,000 per year in order to boost income.

In 2015, the airport launched 4,023 military flights. However, there were more than 9,300 commercial flights; with many being VIP business jets.

This is despite the revelation in 2015 that the Ministry of Defence files show that the airfield is, in fact, unsafe due to a “substantial number” of buildings which “significantly” intrude into the safe zone for taking off and landing.

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