Shropshire’s Cosford Air Show could be axed under Government plans to shake up defence training, it was claimed today.
A union chief sounded the warning over a controversial proposal to shift personnel from RAF Cosford to RAF St Athan’s in South Wales. But officials said this year’s event was due to take place on June 13.
Organisers also said that plans were already under way for next year’s show and could see no reason why it should not take place as planned.
Robert “H” O’Harney, Cosford branch secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, claimed the move to Wales would leave too few staff to run the air show and this year’s could be the last ever.
The future of RAF Cosford was put in doubt last year following the awarding of a huge defence training project to RAF St Athan’s in preference to RAF Cosford.
Work started this year to create a £12 billion defence training super site at St Athan’s.
However, a final decision by the Government on whether to go ahead with the academy will not be made until after the General Election.
Cosford Air Show is one the most visited annual attractions in the West Midlands.
Mr O’Harney added: “If ministers push ahead with the flawed defence training review programme, not only will hundreds of local jobs be put at risk but the future of the air show itself will be in jeopardy.
“The 2010 air show could be the last ever unless the Defence Training Review (DTR) project is scrapped.”
Conservative candidate for The Wrekin, Mark Pritchard, who as MP for the seat has been campaigning to safeguard the future of RAF Cosford, said today: “It is wrong that a political decision by ministers to move defence jobs to Wales, as part of DTR project, is now threatening the Cosford Air Show. Ministers should think again.”
Wing Commander Nick Lea, chairman of the RAF Cosford Air Show organising committee, said: “Preliminary preparations are already being carried out for the RAF Cosford Air Show in 2011.
“We see no reason why the event should not take place as planned.”