UPDATED: Disruption for Blackpool passengers as flight operator grounded

Flights to and from Blackpool have been cancelled.
Flights to and from Blackpool have been cancelled.
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Flights in and out of Blackpool Airport continue to be disrupted while a Czech operator is being investigated by aviation authorities.

Van Air, which operates flights between Blackpool and the Isle of Man on behalf of Citywing, has had its permission to fly in the UK suspended.

After flights in and out of the resort were cancelled on Saturday, Citywing has announced an alternative operator has been found to take over the service on Sunday.

However, passengers flying on Monday are being re-routed via Liverpool, the firm said.

In a statement, Citywing said Blackpool flights will be 'according to schedule' on Sunday and operated by Danish firm North Flying.

It added: "Unfortunately, there are fewer aircraft options for Monday so we have had to work out a way to accommodate passengers travelling to and from the Isle of Man as best as possible.

"With this in mind we have planned one flight from the Isle of Man to Liverpool using the Titan Airways Boeing 737 aircraft.

"This flight is for all Blackpool, Glasgow and Gloucester passengers. Surface transport to the various destinations will be arranged.

"For all passengers from Blackpool, Glasgow and Gloucester, surface transport will be arranged to Liverpool to catch the flight to the Isle of Man."

It comes after the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed it has suspended Czech-registered Van Air's permission to fly in the country. The firm, which operates several flights on behalf of Citywing, is being investigated by the Czech authorities over an incident in the Isle of Man.

On Friday, The Gazette reported passengers expecting to land in Blackpool were being re-routed to Newcastle and transported to the resort by bus following the order from the UK CAA.

A UK CAA spokesperson said: “The UK Civil Aviation Authority has suspended Czech-registered operator Van Air’s permission to fly in the UK.

"This follows an incident involving a Van Air aircraft at Isle of Man Airport on February 23.

"The incident is being investigated by the Czech civil aviation authorities, who have regulatory oversight of Van Air.

"The safety of the travelling public is always our number one priority and we remain in contact with the relevant parties.”

Citywing previously said the UK CAA intervened following an incident when a Van Air-operated flight from the Isle of Man to Belfast turned back after taking off into gale force winds.

David Buck, managing director of Citywing, said: “We apologise for the disruption this is causing to travel plans. We will do our best to keep passengers informed over the next few days.

"We know that the options available are far from ideal but we wanted to ensure where possible that we can provide an option for all passengers to reach their destinations.

"We are trying to contact all passengers but it is a huge task so we ask for your patience whilst we do so.”

Another operator, Titan Airways 737, has been chartered to operate flights on a number of Citywing routes.

On Saturday morning, Citywing posted on Twitter to say it had informed Blackpool-bound passengers of the day's cancellation.

It said: "Tonight's V9118/V9119 IOM-BLK-IOM has been cancelled, all passengers informed and alternative arrangements made. Apologies for any inconvenience caused."