Blackpool Airport could become 'major centre' for pilot training

Blackpool Airport could become a training centre for commercial airline pilots  and helicopter pilots in the future.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 7:11 pm
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 7:14 pm

If the proposal takes off, the council-owned Squires Gate hub could potentially oversee training for up to 100 commercial airline pilots a year.

The suggestion was put forward in a report to the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Prosperity Board.

A report to the meeting, which is not open to the public, says: “Discussions have commenced to base a new CPL (commercial pilot licence) training facility at the airport initially looking at a cohort of 20 pilots per annum and potentially rising to 100.

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Blackpool Airport

“Similarly discussions are ongoing for provision of specialist helicopter pilot and engineering training facilities, with the airport looking to capitalise on opportunities to become a major centre for aviation industry training. ”

Last year the team behind international helicopter support business Helispeed Services, which is based at Blackpool Airport, started offering helicopter flying lessons based at Hangar 3.

Its aim is to equip students with skills suited to roles ranging from flying for the oil and gas sector, to being a helicopter ferry pilot, to search and rescue or flying from the back of a millionaire’s luxury yacht.

At the time of launching the new business, Helispeed Services owner Geoff Packer said there was a skills shortage in the industry.

He said: “Blackpool Airport is ideal for learning to fly a helicopter. It has a lot of great facilities for a small airport and is suited to maximising training.”

The airport progress report to the economic prosperity board also said work was underway to apply to the Civil Aviation Authority for new operating licences to come into effect from the end of October.

The recruitment process for the appointment of new managing director for the airport company is also underway with initial interviews having been held.

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