There's still chance of bringing holiday flights back to Blackpool, says councillor

The last Jet2 flight leaving Blackpool Airport
The last Jet2 flight leaving Blackpool Airport
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Blackpool Airport should mimic the success of other small airports in order to bring back holiday flights, a leading councillor has claimed.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group on Blackpool Council, said a new masterplan for the Squires Gate hub was "disappointing" due to its lack of ambition about the potential to accommodate big jets.

Read more Blackpool Airport: Exciting new masterplan is ready for take off, but will holiday flights return?

The report, produced by industry consultants York Aviation on behalf of the council which bought the airport in September 2017, says the reintroduction of commercial passenger services cannot currently be justified on cost grounds.

It recommends the airport focuses instead on the niche market of executive jet travel, and highlights the importance of retaining off-shore helicopter flights.

Coun Williams said: "I was quite disappointed to read the report on Blackpool Airport and feel it is quite negative in regard to the potential growth and opportunities.

"Saying the airport would lose £500,000 per year if it introduced commercial jet flights would seem to contradict the success of smaller airport growth in other parts of the country such as Leeds/Bradford, Bournemouth and Exeter.

"In essence the report states the whole viability of Blackpool Airport rests on keeping the offshore helicopter contract.

"It also states the life span of that business has only got a 10 to 15 year window. So what happens after that?

"I’m not an aviation expert but like many residents in the town I can see the bigger picture.

"Why can’t we find inward aviation investors and follow in the footsteps of other regional airports which have successfully grown their international business. "

The report, which is due to go before the council's executive on Monday for consideration, says increased costs associated with commercial passenger flights would result in an annual loss of around £590,000 per year.

Its research found 1.5 million passengers a year would be needed to justify the investment required for holiday flights, but current demand is estimated to be enough to attract only around 250,000 passengers a year.