Chaos claims as Jet2 flight is diverted

Final flight: The last Jet2 flight from Blackpool Airport pictured leaving at around 2.30pm on Thursday
Final flight: The last Jet2 flight from Blackpool Airport pictured leaving at around 2.30pm on Thursday
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Angry Jet2 passengers say they were left to wait an hour in the cold at Manchester Airport after their Alicante flight was diverted to Manchester.

The holidaymakers returning from Spain on Thursday night described the scenes at Manchester Airport as “total chaos”.

The flight was originally scheduled for Blackpool but landed at Manchester after Jet2 changed the destination after the announcement the airport would be closing on Wednesday after no buyer could be found.

Jackie Hughson, from Blackpool, said the passengers, many of whom were elderly and infirm, had to walk a long distance to the terminal.

She said: “Some people only found out when the pilot announced the plane was going to Manchester.

“Some of us had had letters at the apartments but many knew nothing. I would say 80 per cent did not know.

“We knew about Blackpool’s closure but we thought we were going to be the last flight in, but the captain said there was no fuel at Blackpool and so they were going to Manchester instead.

“People had to struggle on a long walk to get to where the coaches were supposed to be and the were no wheelchairs. We arrived at around 8.50pm and they only telephoned for the coaches at nine.

“We had to wait in the cold. Many of the people were old, some disabled a lot had summer clothing only. There were people in tears it was total chaos. When we got back to Blackpool the airport barriers were locked so many people could not get their cars out.

“People were dropped off at the front. Two ladies from Morecambe had no way of getting home after missing their lift. It was disgraceful. I got home at quarter to 12 when I should have been in Blackpool at 8.30pm.”

Another woman who did not wish to be named said: “I am a pensioner and my husband has health problems and can’t walk so having to trek across Manchester Airport was terrible. Then we had to wait an hour for the coaches in the cold. Some people had their skimpy holiday clothes and it was freezing.

“It was chaos. Some of the elderly people were bewildered. Some were crying.”

A Jet2 spokesman said:“The Alicante flight was originally set to return to Blackpool Airport. However restrictions in place at Blackpool meant we had to return to Manchester instead. We apologise to passengers for any confusion and inconvenience this may have caused.”

Meanwhile, Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden has held talks with Balfour Beatty’s managing director of the airport operations Stewart Orrell over the future of the Squires Gate terminal.

He said: “The talks were encouraging. They are looking to continue practical and technological support for the smaller businesses on the site. I also learned that conversations with parties who might be interested in buying the airport are continuing.”

He said he will be pressing minister Greg Clarke to see if any funding could be offered from the Regional Growth Fund or Going Places fund to help any new businesses coming into the airport.

BAE Systems has been holding talks with some of the aviation operators from Blackpool Airport to see if it can help. A BAE Systems spokesman said: “We are disappointed with the recent news that Blackpool Airport is to stop flying operations until a new owner can be secured.

“We are in discussion with a number of operators from Blackpool Airport to see if we can provide some short term business continuity to them without affecting our operations.”