BLACKPOOL Airport must continue serving budget airline Jet2.com’s early morning and evening flights.
The loss-making regional hub suffered a narrow defeat to Jet2 after airport bosses tried to ban flights before 7am and after 9pm.
In a case which laid bare bitter relations between Jet2 and the airport, the airline went to court after being told by airport bosses, who were desperate to cut costs, it would only accept flights between 7am and 9pm.
The dispute reached a head in October 2010 when two of the airline’s flights had to be diverted from Blackpool to Manchester at short notice, “causing considerable inconvenience to passengers and expense to Jet2”, London’s Appeal Court heard.
The High Court later ruled the airport had breached its obligation under a 15-year contract with the airline.
The airport, 95 per cent owned by construction giant, Balfour Beatty, took the decision to the Court of Appeal, insisting it had acted within its rights, but has had its challenge rejected by a majority of two judges to one.
Lord Justice Moore-Bick said the airport had been contractually obliged to do all it reasonably could to help Jet2’s growth and prosperity, which included keeping the airport open outside normal working hours, subject to its own right to protect financial interests.
Jet2 boss Philip Meeson pledged to stay at the airport before the appeal and a Jet2 spokesman said, “We are committed to Blackpool Airport and delighted that this verdict has cleared up any uncertainty for passengers wanting to travel to top European destinations. We’re here to stay.”
No-one from Blackpool Airport was available for comment.