The final flight

The last Jet2 flight from Blackpool Airport to Alicante takes off

The last Jet2 flight from Blackpool Airport to Alicante takes off

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Rumbling and trundling along with their suitcases, they headed under the soon to be redundant sign marked ‘Departures’.

It’s apt the building into which they entered is named the terminal, for that is an accurate assessment of the situation.

These are the last passengers to board a Jet2 flight from Blackpool Airport.

From now on, the airline’s services which had been due to set off from the Fylde coast will depart from Mancunian soil, much to the chagrin of those gathered in this somewhat spartan, though “quaint”, little terminal.

Pam Danson and Isabelle Lancaster, travelling with their respective husbands Terry and Don, were among those set for Sunny Spain - Alicante to be precise.

The quartet, from Ulverston, in the Lake District, say they will mourn the loss of such a convenient and friendly airport - devoid of the off putting hustle and bustle of its bigger cousins in Manchester and Liverpool.

“I’m really upset and all my friends who use it are as well,” said Pam.

“I’m quite surprised a business man hasn’t bought into it.”

“It’s quaint and relaxed here,” adds Isabelle, 64.

“Not like the big places, it’s a lovely little airport.”

Her husband added: “I feel sorry for the staff.”

The Jet2 workers still manning their desk, the last garrison of a six year love affair with the resort’s runway, are reluctant to share their emotions with us.

However, their unwavering care for those requiring their help is plain to see to the very last minute.

It is openly appreciated, with fondest wishes of “good luck” and even the odd handshake or hug offered from those heading for the departure lounge.

“It’ll be a big loss,” admits Jacky Fairbrother, 52, who is swapping the torrential rain beating down on her house near Stanley Park for the rays of sunlight shining through her holiday home in Spain.

“We were hoping somebody would come forward to buy it and I wonder how it’s been losing money when the four flights I’ve been on this year have been full.”

For some though, it’s not a nostalgic sense of loss which they feel - but a more righteous sense of anger - with the payment of the £10 “airport development fee” seeming a little bit rich.

Ray Griffin, 57, from Vermont Grove, Anchorsholme, said: “I feel absolutely livid like everybody else, it’s happened so quickly.

“They could have let everybody know a lot earlier.

“We chatted to one of the girls working here and said sorry that they’d be losing their job.

“It’s a shock.”

His 80-year-old mother Rose Dagnall echoed his sentiments.

She said: “They’ve done it suddenly and we’re all in shock.

“Now everybody will have to travel all the way to Manchester and it’s not fair on the staff.

“Some of these poor girls are probably married with a family, and all of a sudden they’ve got to look for a new job.”

Maureen Lockley, 78, lives a jumbo jet’s wingspan from the terminal building on Abbey Road, South Shore, and shares the sense of annoyance that more could have been done by someone - businessmen, local authorities, or airport owner Balfour Beatty - to keep this vital hub going.

The former secretary for British Island Airways, which was based on the site, puts it bluntly.

“When I’m on board I won’t so much be shedding a tear as my mouth will be open with a few choice words,” she said - thankfully cutting short a blue of preview of what she thinks of those who let this happen.

Around an hour later these last lucky few took their seats and the plane taxied round the runway as it had so many times before, though somehow evoking a sense of mournful dignity among those looking on.

Its engines fired up and surged forward while its wheels gently separated from the concourse, jetting upwards and onwards to sunnier climes over Clifton Drive North and the adjacent sand dunes, banking left until it vanished into a grey cloud to match its livery. It may be a long time before it returns, if ever....