The team at Blackpool Airport recently welcomed Robert Courts MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport with responsibility for aviation and maritime.
During his visit, Mr Courts visited several of the airport operators and witnessed first-hand the successful aviation-based operations working both airside and non-airside. Mr Courts visited:
- Lancashire Energy HQ and their award winning nuclear simulator
- NHV helicopters servicing the off shore oil and gas industries
- NW Air Ambulance
- Hangar Three Blackpool Ltd providing Executive Services
- Westair Flight Training School
- Spitfire Visitor Centre
Pictures Martin Bostock.
Robert Courts MP said, “I had the pleasure of visiting Blackpool Airport, a thriving and diverse General Aviation airport which plays a valuable contribution to the success of the UK’s aviation sector. I was impressed by the excellent work undertaken by the airport and operators to enable a range of skills opportunities, train the next generation of aviation professionals and support the critical work of the North West Ambulance Service to save lives.”
Cllr Campbell, Chair of Blackpool Airport Operations Ltd (BAOL) thanked Mr Courts for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to as many of the businesses as he could during the visit; “The tenants were delighted to welcome Mr Courts to the airport who is very clearly passionate about the future of British aviation. It was an excellent chance for Mr Courts to see the hive of diverse activity at the airport which is very definitely open for business. He was interested to hear our plans and how we are working to ensure a long-term, sustainable future for one of England’s oldest airports and a key strategic asset for the Fylde Coast.”
Pictures Martin Bostock.
Joined by Scott Benton MP for Blackpool South, the group discussed the opportunities and obstacles the airport faces in welcoming commercial passenger flights back to the airport. For now, there remains significant investment needed in the airport infrastructure to make this a viable and profitable income generator, for example a new passenger handling facilities but there may be opportunities which continue to be explored for short UK domestic flights to return in a reduced capacity from locations such as the Isle of Man, Belfast and Dublin
Cllr Campbell said, “A return to the European sun destinations isn’t currently an option but we are exploring possibilities for domestic flights that would be welcomed by the local residents looking for a quick getaway, and would also attract visitors into Blackpool, boosting tourism and supporting local businesses.”
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 along with c.£3m to date in acquiring key properties at the airport to maximise future potential.