Blackpool airport flight numbers take off as case is made for commercial flights to return

Blackpool airport was busy in 2021, with 14,000 more flights made than the previous year.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 12:30 pm

Private flights, general aviation and helicopter flights to offshore rigs combined to produce a performance which beat pre-Covid year 2019 by 3,000 flights, according to official figures.

Civil Aviation Authority data shows that 39,587 planes took off or landed at Blackpool airport in 2021.

This was up 56 per cent from 25,404 in 2020, which was the lowest number since comparable records began in 2010, due to the multiple pandemic lockdown periods when people could not go to work.

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton and Fylde MP Mark Menzies with Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps at Blackpool Airport

By comparison, there were 36,289 flights in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

Glynn Wright, Acting Airport Manager, said: “2021 was a good year for Blackpool as it bounced back from the severe impact COVID had on the airport and its operations in 2020, despite remaining fully operational throughout the pandemic, providing essential services to the gas industry.

"We are encouraged to see the upward trend as Blackpool starts to realise its potential for executive travel, general aviation and pilot training.”

Scheduled passenger flights have not operated from Blackpool since 2017 when Citywing operations to the Isle of Man ended. In the enterprise zone masterplan there are plans to build six new hangars for the airport and relocate the air traffic control, but the airport no longer has a terminal building since it was removed to make way for the Lancashire Energy HQ.

The former terminal building at Blackpool Airport

The airport was put on show during the Conservative Party Spring Conference when Transport Minister Grant Shapps and aviation minister Robert Courts separately visited to see the facilities and businesses thriving on the site.

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton and Fylde MP Mark Menzies made clear the airport’s potential to the minister, himself a qualified pilot, in a visit to the Westair facility at Squires Gate.

Mr Menzies said: “There is huge potential here, something the Secretary of State absolutely agreed.

"He saw first-hand how Blackpool Airport has all the ingredients for success but one piece of the jigsaw is missing.

"What Blackpool needs is a terminal building to bring the runway back into passenger use.”

Scott Benton said: “With a review of Passenger Service Obligation flights and changes to domestic Air Passenger Duty there has not been a better time, since the airport closed to passengers, to talk about how we can bring those flights back.

“The Secretary of State was very positive about the future for aviation in Blackpool.”

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