Still no holiday flights despite new era at Blackpool Airport
Opportunities to expand operations at Blackpool Airport are being sought – but will not include holiday flights.
That was the message from Blackpool Council leader Coun Lynn Williams in response to questions about the future of the Squires Gate hub, which is at the start of a new era in its development.
Earlier this month operating licences were transferred to the council , which owns the airport, by the Civil Aviation Authority enabling arm’s length company Blackpool Airport Operations Limited (BAOL) to take over its day to day running.
Coun Bradley Mitchell told a meeting of the full council this was “brilliant news”, and also welcomed moves by the government to halve air passenger duty on domestic flights “making regional airports competitive again.”
He added: “These developments provide brilliant opportunities for our airport, so with that in mind what conversations, if any, have you had with commercial airlines about bringing in commercial passenger flights to get Blackpool flying again?”
Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said investment was being made at the airport, including the appointment of a new managing director who is due to be unveiled in the new year.
But she said: “There is not going to be a reopening to commercial airlines.
“Luton Council was advised by their auditors to sell their airport because it was such a financial risk.
“Unless someone is going to come along and foot the bill of £2m a year losses, and that was pre-pandemic, it’s unworkable and we aren’t going to put the council at financial risk.”
In recent times the council has invested nearly £2m in the upgrade and maintenance of essential infrastructure at the airport, with further significant investment planned.
The airport, which was bought by the council from Balfour Beatty in September 2017 for £4.25m after it had been temporarily closed due to mounting debts, had been run most recently by Stratford-based Regional and City Airports, which owns four airports of its own and had the licences to run two others, including Blackpool.
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