Blackpool Airport "busier than Teesside International, Leeds Bradford, Coventry, Bournemouth and Southampton" last year

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Blackpool Airport was the 20th busiest airport in the UK in 2022, according to the most recent official aircraft movement figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority.

In 2022, the airport on Squires Gate Lane handled 37,259 aircraft movements (take offs and landings), meaning it was busier than Teesside International, Leeds Bradford, Coventry, Bournemouth and Southampton.

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The majority of the aircraft movements were in the general aviation sector, which is civilian flying outside of commercial passenger flights.

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Managing director Steve Peters at Blackpool AirportManaging director Steve Peters at Blackpool Airport
Managing director Steve Peters at Blackpool Airport

Blackpool Airport was the second most popular airport for general aviation visitors last year, and also recorded a 57 per cent increase in business aircraft movements.

Airport managing director Steve Peters said Blackpool had always been popular for general aviation, and the aim now is to build on that with the relaunch of some scheduled flights.

He said: “Scheduled, regional domestic operations are also front and centre in our thinking and planning.

“Discussions are underway with interested parties to determine the best routes and aircraft types to deliver these services to the local and wider community.”

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The air traffic control tower at Blackpool AirportThe air traffic control tower at Blackpool Airport
The air traffic control tower at Blackpool Airport

The success comes as the air hub starts to deliver on its 10-year business plan to enhance its profile, increase aircraft movements and create new commercial opportunities to attract more flights and long term customers.

Mr Peters added: “Blackpool Airport has historically been a popular general aviation (GA) destination for visiting aircraft and pilots, and the 2022 aircraft movement figures support that.

“One of the goals now is to build on that popularity, in both the GA and business aircraft sectors, with the long term objective of bringing people into the area to visit, spend and invest.

“As a business aviation airport we offer a secure, discreet, convenient destination in the north-west with an excellent aircraft handling service provided by Hangar Three and the Blackpool Airport security team.

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“This service will be enhanced in the very near future as additional equipment and facilities come on stream.”

More than £2m has been invested in the 114-year old airport since it was purchased by Blackpool Council in 2017 including in improvements to air traffic control, lighting, taxiways and runways.

Blackpool Airport is a thriving hub for business, medevac and general aviation and offers aircraft handling, parking, engineering and refuelling services, flight and instrument training as well as having facilities for executive lounges and crew briefing.

Blackpool Council reacquired the airport from Balfour Beatty in September 2017 for £4.25m via its ownership of Blackpool Airport Operations Ltd and Blackpool Airport Property Ltd, to save it from the risk of permanent closure and to secure its long-term future as part of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

After transferring the CAA licences back under the control of the airport in November 2021 and appointing a new managing director, the airport is now implementing a 10-year business plan to increase and grow the profile of the airport, upgrading existing infrastructure and creating a long-term, commercially sustainable, future.