Northern Ireland minister upbeat about potential of Blackpool Airport
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The minister was in the resort for the British-Irish Council which saw leaders including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gather for two days of talks.
Mr Heaton-Harris met with Fylde coast Conservative MPs Scott Benton, Paul Maynard and Mark Menzies to discuss the future of Blackpool Airport which has just unveiled a 10-year development plan.
He was shown round the air traffic control centre which is due to be replaced in the next three years with funding from the budget for the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.
Among the ambitions for the airport is to reinstate scheduled domestic flights potentially linking Blackpool to the Isle of Man, Belfast and other regional airports.
Mr Heaton-Harris said: “The Government really believes Blackpool is an important growth area for our economy.
“I have been here at the British-Irish Council, and it’s important we have had the Scottish First Minister here, the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), and first ministers from Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and the Prime Minister here.
“Blackpool is already very much on the map but it is demonstrating the Government believes in this place for all sorts of really important things including for international summits.
“So it is interesting to see the plans – what has been achieved in terms of economic development and the potential, is quite extraordinary.”
Blackpool South MP Scott Benton said it was important to show government ministers what could be achieved at Blackpool Airport.
He said: “We’re not going to get international flights but there certainly is potential to start something smaller, such as to the Isle of Man and maybe to increase that with links to the likes of Belfast, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
“So the reason for bringing Chris here today is to show him some of the very good things being done here.”