The Cambridge-based aviation firm Marshall Aerospace has confirmed it's pursuing its plan to relocate to Bedfordshire.
The company announced in 2019 it will leave its current base at Cambridge Airport by 2030 in order to free up space for 12,000 new homes to be built.
The firm has now officially ruled out potential moves to Duxford and RAF Wyton, but bosses say Cranfield in Bedfordshire remains a "viable and practical option".
However, a final decision has yet to be made.
Marshall signed an agreement in principle with Cranfield University in 2019 for the site near Bedford to becomes its new home.
“Whilst we are disappointed that we haven’t been able to make either Duxford or Wyton work for us we believe, given the obvious synergies between our Aerospace business and Cranfield, that it is a very compelling option," Marshall Chief Executive Kathy Jenkins said.
“As such, we will shortly begin the process of preparing an outline planning application, with submission planned in Autumn 2022 in order give us further confidence that we have a deliverable site should we wish to relocate to Cranfield.
“However, like so many businesses, Covid-19 has changed a lot of things for us and this, coupled with recent announcements in relation to the early withdrawal of the RAF’s C-130 fleet, means we are not yet in a position to make a final decision about a choice of new home for our Aerospace or Land Systems businesses.
“Naturally, given the exciting news that the airport land has been included in the Local Plan Preferred Options, our priority now is to confirm definitive relocation plans as soon as we are practicably able and we look forward to making further announcements in due course.”
Marshall was founded in Cambridge in 1909, and outgoing leader of the city council Cllr Lewis Herbert, says it's sad news that the company could be leaving the city.
“We cannot be anything but sad that Marshalls Aerospace, such an important nearly a century part of our balanced Cambridge economy, is disappearing not just from the city, but is to disappear from Cambridgeshire altogether, along with so many jobs for many skilled and loyal employees living within 20 miles of east Cambridge," he told Cambridge News.
"We have asked Marshalls including their new Chief Executive to meet to consider our concerns, and their timings in light of draft proposals in the recently released Joint Local Plan document. We remain as City Councillors committed to continuing engineering and related employment land allocation on the overall Marshalls site.”