Blackpool Airport has been put up for sale – with hopes raised the move could bring even more new routes to the resort.
And bosses at the Squires Gate terminal today reassured passengers the sell-off would not affect flights.
Balfour Beatty, which bought the airport in 2008 for £14m, has decided to sell its operating interests in the site as part of a wider decision to sell all its interests in regional airports.
But it will continue to own the land on which the terminal stands. A statement issued by Blackpool Airport Ltd, the operating arm of Balfour Beatty at Squires Gate, said: “The directors of Blackpool Airport Limited have today commenced a process to sell the operating company of the airport.
“Services and flights to and from the airport will continue as normal during this sale process.”
Alan Cavill, assistant chief executive at Blackpool Council, which sold the airport in 2004, welcomed the news, saying it could bring new flights and operators to the Fylde coast.
London-based restructuring specialist Zolfo Cooper has been appointed to handle the sale and is inviting expressions of interest from would-be buyers before September 10.
A spokesman said: “We are pleased to have been appointed to this role and we will be working closely now with the management team of the airport to identify and evaluate appropriate expressions of interest.”
No price has been put on the airport.
Blackpool Airport Limited generates its income from aviation traffic, shopping, snack bar and other passenger facilities.
Blackpool Council sold the airport in a £13m deal in 2004 and, at the time, retained a five per cent stake.
Balfour Beatty has invested almost £30m in the site since it took it over.
But passenger numbers have dropped over the years from a peak of around 500,000 in 2007, and the terminal has continued to make an annual loss, currently running at about £1.5m a year.
Three airlines are based at Blackpool Airport including Jet2 which flies to 13 destinations.
Alan Cavill, assistant chief executive at Blackpool Council, said the council had been aware Balfour Beatty wanted to sell the terminal.
He added: “We await the outcome with interest.
“We hope a new owner could bring additional flights and operations to the airport which would be good for the Fylde Coast and the airport.”