Blackpool Council buys back airport site

Blackpool Council has purchased all shares in Regional and City Airports (Blackpool) Holdings for £4.25m, taking full ownership of the airport site.

The deal brings the company back into full public ownership for the first time in 13 years. Though the council has stated there won’t be a return of jumbo jets to the site, it will protect the land for commercial and aviation use, strengthening the local Enterprise Zone.

The council was previously a 5 per cent shareholder in the airport. Balfour Beatty had owned the majority and was believed to be considering bids from residential developers.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Today is a really important day for aviation on the Fylde coast and this sale heralds a positive new dawn for Blackpool Airport.

“This move will protect the airport as a company, including the 30 jobs that are currently employed there. It will also allow us to ensure that the airport itself can continue to operate as an important hub that can benefit the whole region.

“Blackpool Airport is such a key part of having a strong local economy and it is absolutely vital that we safeguard its future and ensure that it can continue to be used as an aviation and employment hub for the Fylde coast for the long term.

“We do not envisage the return of large scale passenger planes to the airport. The purpose of this acquisition is to safeguard the helicopter and other commercial airside activities that take place, build upon them and deliver our overall objective of creating up to 5,000 jobs on the Enterprise Zone site.”

The council also stated that Blackpool Airport is currently a profitable company and will generate enough revenue to cover the purchase price.

“We have the airport’s best interests at heart, we will retain the current operating staff as well as exploring any potential opportunities for private companies with aviation interests to invest in the company so that it can grow in the future but this is not about trying to bring jumbo jets back to the airport anytime soon,” added Simon Blackburn.

Blackpool Council last owned the airport in 2004, when it was sold to City Hopper Airports for a total of £13m, before being sold on to Balfour Beatty in 2008. The airport was placed into administration in 2014, closing temporarily before reopening with reduced capacity.

 

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