Blackpool Airport, owned by Blackpool Council is to bring the management and day-to-day airport operations back in-house.

Following a lengthy review and search to appoint a new operational management contractor, Blackpool Airport Operations Ltd (BAOL), Blackpool Council’s wholly owned subsidiary, has decided to take the operational licences back into its own name. Transfer of the CAA licences to operate the airport into BAOL Company’s name and under its direct control, is an early step in achieving the airport’s longer term goals which are:

  • to maximise opportunities for growth
  • to achieve a greater level of control and flexibility to take sound investment decisions
  • to be more efficient and cost effective
  • to ensure a long-term, sustainable future for one of England’s oldest airports and a key strategic asset for the Fylde Coast.

This arrangement where the licences are held by the airport owner rather than the management contractor is the norm in the aviation industry and brings Blackpool into line with its peers in the sector. BAOL is working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for this process to be completed later in the year, at which point the contract with the current licence holder Regional and City Airports (RCA) will expire.

RCA have done an excellent job in helping steer the airport through some difficult times in recent years, not least the ongoing pandemic, when the airport has remained fully operational throughout. RCA has pledged to work closely with BAOL, airport owners Blackpool Council and the CAA to ensure a smooth and seamless transition of the licences.

The changeover of the licences will not impact current job security and there will be no visible changes in the day-to-day operations at the airport for the foreseeable future, with Stephen Smith remaining as Airport Manager.

Cllr Campbell, Chair of the Board at Blackpool Airport Operations Ltd (BAOL) said, “The tender process for operational and management contracts has now come to an end and the Board has made the decision to bring the airport licences in-house.  BAOL and Blackpool Council thank RCA for all their hard work over the past few years are now working with them to facilitate a smooth transition of airport operations.

“We should not underestimate the size and complexity of the task ahead of us, but with the support and dedication of the airport staff, the Board have every confidence in the team to take our airport forward to a brighter, more sustainable and profitable future.”

Blackpool Council reacquired Blackpool Airport from Balfour Beatty in September 2017 for £4.25m via its ownership of Blackpool Airport Operations Ltd and Blackpool Airport Property Ltd, to save it from the risk of permanent closure and to secure its long-term future as part of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone. To date Blackpool Council has invested nearly £2m in the upgrade and maintenance of essential infrastructure, with further significant investment planned.