Relocation to the RAF Wattisham
Though the predecessor of ScotAirways – the Suckling Aviation – started off very well and relatively quickly established a reputation for quality service among its target audience, the first trouble was just around the corner. One year after the first Suckling Dornier took off from the Ipswich Airport, the latter started causing problems to the young airline company.
Accused of Damaging the Runway, the Suckling Airways Forced to Relocate
Extreme rain during the winter months of 1987 took its toll on the airport’s grass runway. People in charge of the Ipswich Airport, however, didn’t see rain as the only culprit of the damaged runway. They accused the Suckling Dornier to be responsible for the damage, arguing that the runway is damaged the most at the site of turning. Confronted with direct accusation of being responsible for the damage, the Suckling Airlines had no choice but to look for a new home for its Dornier. In early 1988, the airline found a temporary home in Wattisham before moving on to Cambridge that would serve as its base for a longer period of time.
About the Ipswich Airport
The Ipswich Airport got into serious trouble soon after the departure of Suckling Aviation. In 1993, its owner - the Ipswich Borough Council – announced to close the airport. Based on a report that was done a few years earlier, the Council concluded it would be best to launch development on the site of the airport. This announcement triggered a massive public outcry and the Council was forced to give in to the pressure to keep the airport open. But not for long. On 31 December 1996, the Civil Aviation Authority delicensed the airport and this time, public protest didn’t work. The site was eventually redeveloped as a residential estate.
About the RAF Wattisham
Wattisham wasn’t home to Suckling Aviation for long either. Forced to leave the Ipswich Airport, the airline briefly found a new home at the Royal Air Force Station Wattisham or RAF Wattisham some 15 miles north-west of Ipswich. In 1993, it was closed and turned over to the British Army which has been operating it ever since as the Wattisham Airfield. However, there is also a museum dedicated to the history of the former Royal Air Force station which played an important role during the Cold War period.