Confidence lift in Blackpool Airport deal with Westair

Top, Hangar 8 which is to be taken over by Westair, below. Inset right, Coun Jason Roberts
Top, Hangar 8 which is to be taken over by Westair, below. Inset right, Coun Jason Roberts

A long established Blackpool aviation company is set to take over one of the major hangars at the airport.

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And Westair said the move was inspired by increasing confidence in the airside business at Squires Gate.

It is finalising a deal to buy the Hangar 8 facility at the western end of the airport close to the aviation museum and the Air Training Corps site.

The process could take up to three months and in the meantime businesses at both sites will continue.

A company spokesman said: “Westair has been based at Blackpool Airport since the earliest days of the airport and we are keen to demonstrate their continued commitment and belief in its future, particularly since Blackpool Council reacquired the airport this year.

“Hangar 8 is one of the largest hangars at Blackpool Airport and an excellent building with modern facilities, ideal for the continued growth of our business.

“We have been teaching people to fly here for more than 75 years now and have recently expanded to include commercial pilot training alongside private pilot training.

Blackpool is a great place to learn to fly, with good runways, weather and an air traffic control service and the facilities you would expect to find at a well run airport.

It will also enable us to continue to provide aircraft engineering and servicing, and hangarage.

“This is a major investment and reflects the optimism in the future of Blackpool Airport.”

Coun Jason Roberts from the Stanley Ward welcomed the news.

He said: “I am sure the addition of these facilities to your portfolio will only strengthen and further support GA and enginering as a whole at Blackpool Airport.

“It’s great news for all to have Westair, one of the longest established operators at the airport, taking this step at Blackpool Airport.”

Long standing aviation firm

Westair, which offers training and maintenance, was founded in the 1930s by Walter “Wally” Westoby and was based at the airfield at Stanley Park where the zoo now stands.

Walter trained RAF air crew during the Second World War and then after the move to Squires Gate in 1947 began operating pleasure flights in De Havilland Rapides for tourists.

His son Denis started flying and acted as pilot for many of the stars of stage and screen who performed in Blackpool.

His son John joined in 1974 when the company ran a charter service and a regular service in a King Air to Stansted. The fourth generation of Westoby’s, his son Jonathan, joined in 2008.