Changes of ownership which span last decade

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Opposition councillors insisted not enough had been done to save the town’s airport during a heated debate on the future of the Squires Gate terminal.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams branded it a “disgrace” the hub had shut down when other regional airports in places like Liverpool and Leeds/Bradford were prospering.

Referring to owner Balfour Beatty, he told a full meeting of the council: “All they have done is set up again with a smaller management company.

“I think they were just concentrating on getting rid of Jet2 and sweating the asset. The fact we have lost it is an absolute disgrace.”

Former council leader Coun Peter Callow said he had warned the council to keep hold of the £6m receipts from the sale in case it was needed to support the airport in future.

But the money had been spent on projects such as road repairs.

He said: “I warned the council about it, that they couldn’t fritter away the money.

“But they didn’t heed my warning, and as a result the airport that people like me cherished is practically closed.”

But Council Leader Coun Simon Blackburn said the council’s decision to sell had saved “the best part of £20m for the tax-payers of Blackpool.”

Answering a question from Lib Dem Coun Douglas Green, he added: “If he thinks we ought to buy Blackpool Airport, I suggest he tells the people of Blackpool where we can find the £2m needed to run it.”

Coun David Owen, who was chairman of the airport when it was council owned, said Blackpool could not be compared with other regional airports which made their money through retail.

He added: “We did our level best but it was very difficult and the Civil Aviation Authority ratcheted up the levels of investment we needed to keep up with safety.”