Jet fighter training firm launched at Blackpool Airport
A new company which operates a high performance jet fighter trainer aircraft has set up home at Blackpool Airport.
L-39 Aviation operates The Aero L-39 Albatros which was originally developed in Czechoslovakia by Aero Vodochody during the 1960s. The aircraft in Blackpool is the latest glass cockpit version configured for civilian operation.
The aircraft has recently been refurbished and secured its permit to fly after conversion works were undertaken at MOD St Athan airfield in South Wales. The L-39 will hopefully be joined by other aircraft in the fleet, including a recently acquired BAE Systems Hawk T1 Training Jet.
L-39 Aviation plans to operate a range of services in association with High-G Jets Ltd, to include experience flights, filming work, high performance training, and also third party maintenance and refurbishment for other owners of similar high performance ex- military aircraft.
The company has has taken a lease on 14,000 sq ft Hangar Four at Squires Gate, bringing several new jobs to the airport, whilst they look to develop a new purpose built operational base at Blackpool Airport.
Company founder Steve Hartley said: "The L-39 is one of the only fighter jets of its kind in the UK that can operate in civilian mode and the only such aircraft to operate from Blackpool. Its profile will be a great boost for the airport, receiving lots of attention every time it takes off and lands, not to mention the added income for the airport from the fuel bills!
"We also have a WWII Havard trainer war plane which will be based here at Blackpool, together with a number of aerobatic and display aircraft. We felt that it was important that we support Blackpool Airport as a key regional transport and aviation hub."
Coun Gillian Campbell, chair of Blackpool Airport Board, said: "It is great to see more unusual planes active at the airport on a regular basis, as it builds excitement and interest in Blackpool, not just at special times of the year, such as the summer Southport and Blackpool Airshows.
"We continue to work hard to build a secure future for the airport, investing in infrastructure and operations and hopefully eye-catching planes such as the L-39 will help to secure new investment and more airside-based companies to the site, providing a wider portfolio of services to the aviation industry."
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