An increase in fire cover at Blackpool Airport drove a significant growth in corporate jet traffic, bosses have revealed.
Last year the airfield upgraded to category three status allowing it to handle larger planes.
And as a result the number of foreign business jets using the airfield doubled in just one month.
Blackpool’s fire cover is still well below the level required to handle large aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 airliners which Jet2 used to fly from the resort.
But boss Jay Gates believes the steady growth plans in place are paying off.
He said: “In November, as part of the airport’s controlled growth, we increased our daily aviation rescue and fire fighting services to what is know as category three.
“This was part of a recruitment drive to attract more local firefighters. All are currently retained with Lancashire Fire and Rescue.
“This increase in airport category allows the great majority of business and corporate aircraft plus some smaller military aircraft to use the airport at any time they choose.
“The difference was immediate.
“From having just under a dozen foreign business jets visiting in October we doubled this to 23 jets visiting in November.
“Coupled with this increase in business aviation to Blackpool was that the airport was voted eight best airport in the country for business and corporate aviation in a poll by Air Charter Services.
“The company has 20 offices around the globe and provided 10,000 charter flights last year.
“We must be doing something right.”
Blackpool has also been chosen by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to host a visit by a group of trainee inspectors from Brunei who will be shown the control tower and engineering operations at Squires Gate.
The reported increase in business traffic at Blackpool comes as a difficult time for passenger services.
Citywing, currently Blackpool’s only commercial service provider, is being forced to plan its schedules on a daily basis following a decision to stop Van Air Europe from flying in the UK. Van Air was contracted by Citywing to operate services between Blackpool and the Isle of Man.
Blackpool’s Citwing flight is expected to run today with Polish airline Sprint Air providing a Saab 340 aircraft. Van Air has flown at least one of its LET 410 planes back to its base in Brno in the Czech Republic.