Liquidators appointed for Blackpool airport firm

Photo Neil Cross'The closure of Blackpool Airport'The last plane leaves Blackpool

Photo Neil Cross'The closure of Blackpool Airport'The last plane leaves Blackpool

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Around 20 people were at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool for a meeting of Blackpool Airport’s creditors and staff.

Yesterday’s 45-minute meeting started the formal process of placing the company which ran the airport operation, Blackpool Airport Ltd, into voluntary liquidation.

Staff signed a confidentiality clause as part of their redundancy package and were barred from speaking to the press after the meeting.

However later, one former worker said: “This is a sad day for us, a sad day for the airport and a sad day for Blackpool.

“It’s the end of an era. I think the airport will get back into business again some time but I don’t think it will be a big commercial operation like we have just had.

“All the people who worked there are very upset about losing their jobs. I really loved working there and would love to go back.”

Almost 120 staff were employed at the airport, which served 235,000 passengers last year but made losses of around £1.5m a year.

Insolvency and restructuring experts Zolfo Cooper have been appointed as liquidator with Nick Cropper, Alastiar Beveridge and Catherine Williamson taking charge of the process which could see assets sold off to pay creditors.

The company was originally appointed by Balfour Beatty to sell Blackpool Airport Ltd in September.

The airport shut down at 6pm on Wednesday night and is set to remain closed until 8am Saturday morning when it will open for limited general aviation flights.

The final commercial passenger flights were on Wednesday when a Citywing flight departed for the Isle of Man at 10.10am, an Aer Lingus aircraft left for Dublin at 3.20pm and the last flight was a Citywing flight to the Isle of Man at 5pm .

But talks are ongoing to secure the future of the site and retain an aviation presence.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “Myself and fellow MPs, Paul Maynard and Mark Menzies met cities minister Greg Clarke at Westminster along with representatives of the local enterprise partnership including its leader Martin Kelly to put the case for future financial support for Blackpool airport.

“Greg Clarke is taking a detailed interest in the whole issue. We discussed various ways of taking forward that support and strengthening the support of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership for the airport site.

“There are businesses out there with definite interest and who could bid for the airport and the formal closure of Balfour Beatty’s company will not affect any bid process.

“As far as I’m concerned it is not a case of lights out for ever. There is a lot of potential to keep an aviation presence at the Blackpool Airport site and also a good possibility of new owners to come in and take it on as it is.

“The regeneration of the runway and airport facilities should be a prime point in any discussions with bidders.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said: “I have had two sets of meetings with senior ministers to discuss matters.

“While there are clearly a lot of intricacies in terms of Jet2’s role, Balfour Beatty’s role and the Council’s role in the airport’s collapse, I think the immediate challenge is to secure economic activity on the site to preclude housing development”.