PASSENGER numbers are expected to rocket at Blackpool Airport when the Open Championship takes place in July.
And airport and flight operators are gearing up for what is expected to be the busiest time in years for the transport hub.
In partnership with private aircraft operator Pool Aviation, Blackpool Airport is expected to be the major gateway for competitors, spectators, officials and sponsors.
Flight arrival and departure formalities will be handled along with shuttle transfers directly to the course at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club.
Sue Kendrick (right), corporate affairs manager at Blackpool Airport, said: “We’re already preparing for what we believe will be an extremely busy and exciting July.
“We’re expecting record numbers of passengers and relish the opportunity to support the world’s golfing elite for this prestigious tournament.
“It’s also the perfect opportunity to showcase Blackpool, Fylde and Lancashire and we wish all who are participating in the challenge for the Claret Jug every success.”
The last time The Open was held at Royal Lytham St Annes was in 2001 and preparation for the 2012 event is now in full swing with more than 200,000 visitors expected to descend on the region.
Simon Menzies, managing director of Pool Aviation based in Hangar 3 at the airport, said: “We have already begun taking a significant number of bookings for arrival and departure slots before and after The Open including the arrival of a Boeing Business Jet – the biggest business jet of its kind.
“As we head closer towards the event, we predict that there will be significantly more demand so anyone planning to use our facilities should make enquiries as soon as possible.”