BLACKPOOL Airport will be forced to close for short periods of time – because a senior air traffic controller is recovering from a plane crash.
The deputy controller, Adrian Smith, who is a keen pilot, had a miracle escape after his plane came down on Ingleborough in North Yorkshire.
Now, the airport will have to close down its aerodrome on four occasions tomorrow and twice on April 7 to comply with the rest requirements for the remaining air traffic controllers.
The airport’s aerodrome also closed four times for 30 minute spells last Friday.
Airport spokeswoman Sue Kendrick said: “The terminal will remain open, the staff will remain at the airport and after the 30 minute rest period the aerodrome will re-open.
“It will not affect safety, passengers or other services provided and everybody has been communicated through the correct channels.
“This has arisen because the Deputy SATCO has unfortunately been in an aircraft accident.
“He has a particular competency which means you can’t just have a ‘ready-made replacement’ and we have had to review and revise the ATC roster accordingly.
“What is most important is that he has a full recovery and we send him our best wishes.”
Mr Smith, 55, had a miraculous escape after his Cessna plane, believed to have taken off from Blackpool Airport’s Westair facility, hit the side of Ingleborough – the second-highest peak on the Yorkshire Moors – on March 21.
An investigation has been launched into the accident, which happened during a period of dense cloud in the area.
Mr Smith and his passenger were rescued by mountain rescue services from Kendal after they were alerted to the crash by the pilot.
Simon Menzies, who operates private jet firm Pool Aviation from the airport, said: “We are very disappointed by the closures.
“There will be some degree of inconvenience but we understand the reasons why these closures are taking place. We expect it to be a short-term problem
“We will continue, as we have in the past 25 years, to support the airport.”