Airport campaigners have called on owners Balfour Beatty to call off tomorrow’s auction of equipment and save it for the airport’s future.
Members of Save Blackpool Airport are taking to the streets around Squires Gate to hand out leaflets highlighting the plight of the airside operation.
Items under the hammer include a high capacity baggage scanner, hand luggage and body scanners, check-in desks, baggage trolleys and conveyors, a fuel tanker and fire tender, de-icing equipment, passport scanners, x-ray machines, ground power units for commercial jet aircraft and boarding steps.
Campaigners say the equipment is vital for a return to large scale commercial operations.
They question Balfour Beatty’s commitment to air operations and fear the land could be used as prime building plots.
Danny Nicholson, vice chairman of the group said: “Balfour Beatty has said that this is obsolete equipment but we do not agree. It would cost a fortune to replace and we don’t think they are willing to invest in the airport any more.
“We will be out on the streets to protest about the online auction but we would like Balfour Beatty to call a halt to it.
“However, we don’t think that will happen and we have heard that people have been approaching the airport to buy up equipment before the auction takes place.
“Why would anyone want to buy equipment that is obsolete? The buyers think it must be useful.
“We are worried that in the future without the return of commercial flights they will simply say that the airport is not economically viable and put pressure on to develop it.”
Yesterday on the online auction, the most expensive item was a Carmichael Caro fire tender with a highest bid of £7,500 followed by the Houchin GPU generators for starting jet engines at £2,500. The airport’s six wheeled Simon Gloster fire truck had been the subject of 27 bids so far and had reached a price of £1,827.
A spokesman for Balfour Beatty today denied claims made in the leaflets as untrue and said the sale of the equipment would not prevent any new operator who wanted to from flying from Blackpool.
In a statement they said: “None of the equipment being disposed of will impact on the ability of the airport to accommodate the return of Citywing or the other operators including Bond Helicopters.
“All future opportunities will be considered on a commercial basis and the operational resources required to facilitate the prospective airline.
“This auction will not deter any potential airline from operating at the airport.”