Plans have been unveiled to physically move the Son San Juan airbase and expand Palma airport which borders its runways. The military airfield has been severely hit by the opening of the new terminal building which has cut one of its principal access roads. The Spanish Ministry of Defence, taking into account Majorca's strategic value both for Spain and its NATO allies, has decided to build a new purpose-built military airfield which will be next to the civilian airport but with better facilities to handle fast jets, such as the Spanish Air Force's F-18s. The Son San Juan military airfield, which can be called the mother of Palma airport, is home at the moment to an air sea rescue unit and various police helicopters. Under the new plans the present military airfield will become a service area for airlines, which will be able to take advantage of its ample taxiing areas. The site of the new air base has not been disclosed although there is plenty of waste land on the airport perimeter which could easily be transformed into the airbase. The budget is also a closely guarded secret. For the Spanish Armed Forces the announcement is good news after years of cuts and a downgrading of the military presence. However, environmental groups and pacifists will argue that by giving the military airbase more impetus the island will become a greater military target. ver recent years NATO air forces have operated from Spanish air bases and recently it was reported that the U.S. Air Force was looking at a Spanish base as a site to store weapons for its B52 bombers which could be activated in time of conflict. B52 bombers flying from RAF Fairford refuelled over Balearic skies during the Gulf war.