Shock slump at the airport

Blackpool Airport operations Director Paul Rankin
Blackpool Airport operations Director Paul Rankin
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PASSENGER numbers at Blackpool have slumped – to the point where the airport has been named the tenth worst for decline in Europe.

In a survey of 300 airports carried out by website anna.aero, which provides airline network news and analysis, Blackpool recorded a 14.9 per cent drop over the past year.

The UK as a whole saw a fall of 3.4 per cent – with just Greece and Ireland reporting worse scenarios.

The figures revealed that in April – the month the Eyjafjallajokull volcano created a massive ash cloud which grounded flights across the UK – passenger numbers at Blackpool fell by 40.2 per cent.

However, October’s harsh weather saw an even steeper drop of 42.6 per cent on the same month last year. at the airport.

A spokesman for anna.aero said: “The UK may have been hit harder than many by the Icelandic volcano fallout in April, coped badly with bad weather at the beginning and end of the year, and seen British Airways have its fair share of industrial problems, but this result should be considered very alarming to the UK coalition government currently trying to revive the country’s economy.”

However, Blackpool Airport director Paul Rankin, said he was extremely positive for the future of the facility.

He added: “During 2010 more than 220,000 people flew from Blackpool which is testament to the convenience of flying from a smaller regional airport.

“The overall drop in passenger figures for UK airports was a culmination of the economic environment, the severe weather and the unprecedented volcanic ash cloud, which saw British air space closed for the first time since the Second World War.

“Our long-term growth prospects are good and the airport has introduced a number of measures to significantly reduce operational costs.

“Our passengers fly with us because they enjoy the convenience of a fast track, hassle-free experience and everyone at the Blackpool Airport is working hard to make sure that this continues for a very long time.”

Mr Rankin added that the controversial £10 airport development fee and free parking for 15 days introduced in 2009, had helped the airport’s continued financial investment.

He said: “Flights from the airport are selling well and new routes and charter holidays are being introduced. We saw flights to Jersey come on board in 2010 and we will be flying to Madeira in 2011 with Atlantic Holidays and to Italy with Newmarket Holidays.”