As the last wisp of coloured smoke from the Red Arrows display team dispersed into the late afternoon sky on Sunday, plans to make Farnborough the show's base for the forseeable future were forging ahead on the ground.

The Society of British Aerospace Companies - the SBAC - which runs the show plans to buy a plot of land opposite the Queen's Hotel (Holiday Inn) to give better access to the show site "and develop the show."

This chance comes when the Ministry of Defence sells the freehold of this 25 acre site in the near future.

The SBAC wants part of the site and adds: "In the long term the SBAC hopes that the availability of land surrounding the show site will lead to opportunities for the Society."

Until recently the show - the world's greatest air show which helps bring billions of pounds of aerospace business to Britain - was by no means certain to carry on at Farnborough.

The takeover by TAG Aviation, which is pouring tens of millions into updating the airfield, has transformed the picture and ensured that the historic flying base at Farnborough - where Europe's first flight took place - will carry on as a leading aviation centre.

Said an SBAC spokesman: "The sale of the Farnborough airfield by the MOD to TAG brings many benefits to the event and provides opportunities for the show to be developed.

"The leasehold sale of the Farnborough airfield will be concluded with the signing of a 25 year lease from January 1, 2003. A sub-lease with the SBAC allows a security of tenure not previously experienced."

The airfield will continue to be regulated by the MOD until January, with operational control with TAG Aviation. The airfield should be licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority in November this year.

The SBAC statement concluded: "We are confident of the show's bright future at Farnborough."