RAF Waddington 2016 air show faces overrun threat

Rivet Joint aircraft arriving at RAF Waddington Image copyright MOD
Image caption The MoD says the work will mean the runway having its life extended by 25 years

Work on the runway at a major RAF base will overrun, it has been confirmed.

RAF Waddington closed its runway in late 2014 for a £35m rebuild which was expected to take about a year to complete.

But the MoD has said due to problems with wet ground and unexpected pipes and cables, work will continue until "summer 2016".

The news has prompted concerns the base's air show, cancelled in 2015, might never return.

The RAF Waddington air show, which usually takes place in July, is one of the largest events of its type in the country, attracting about 150,000 visitors.

Image caption The MoD said the ground had become saturated in the winter

Air show pilot Stuart Reid said: "Waddington is a massive undertaking. You must organise it months, if not years in advance, to secure the services of support personnel and other participants.

"If there is a question mark over when the work finishes, can you commit them and yourself to it?"

A wider review of air shows across the UK is ongoing and there has been no statement on the Waddington event's future.

The RAF said the work would keep the runway fit for use for the next 25 years.

John Robinson, who runs the nearby Wave viewing platform and cafe, said: "It has been shocking. We have lost 70-75% of our trade overnight when the aircraft left.

"Without the aircraft there is not much reason for people to come here no matter how good the food and drink.

"This winter is going to be extremely difficult, we had budgeted for the original closure, now we will struggle to survive."

Customers said the delay was "disgraceful" and any threat to the air show would be "the RAF shooting itself in the foot".

An MoD statement said unexpected clay soils had become saturated in a wet winter and these delays had been compounded by underground services which had not appeared on plans.

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