Having operated as a military airfield for more than 100 years, it is now growing into one of the finest business aviation airfields in Europe.

During the 1980s it became clear that the military use of the airfield was declining and in 1989 a civil enclave was opened.

This allowed limited business flights under military regulation.

Then in 1995, after an open selection competition set up by the Ministry of Defence, TAG was selected to develop the airfield for exclusive business aviation usage.

The award of a Civil Aviation Authority licence gives the airfield a safety seal of approval and will lead to 28,000 aircraft movements a year.

Political figures and business leaders gathered together last Wednesday to witness the signing ceremony to seal the handover of control from the MoD.

Mansour Ojjeh, president of TAG, was joined by Ian Andrews, second permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, to complete the formalities.

The airfield has undergone a major transformation in recent years and an impressive new control tower now dominates the site.

Guest of honour John Spellar, minister of state for transport, unveiled a plaque at the foot of the tower.

He said: “Farnborough has a great tradition and I feel sure, a great future.

“As transport minister and former minister for the armed forces, I am particularly delighted to be associated with its rebirth from military to civil use.

“I wish the airport every success.”

TAG chief executive Roger McMullin said that through the development of the airfield they had met two important objectives.

“Firstly, that Farnborough should be retained as an exclusive business aviation airfield serving the south of England.

“Secondly, that, because of the additional investment that TAG had made in facilities, Farnborough will continue to be available for the staging of the biennial SBAC international airshow.”