'˜Don't sit on hands' over airport sale

Blackpool Council should take an active role in the sale of Blackpool Airport.

Thursday, 13th October 2016, 10:11 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 3:40 pm
Jet2 has indicated it will not return to Blackpool

That is the view of a long-term Town Hall advocate of the Squires Gate facility.

Coun Tony Williams has been heavily critical of current owners Balfour Beatty’s running of the airport – which closed to large commercial traffic in 2014.

And now he is calling on the local authority, a five per cent stakeholder in the airport, to protect its interests and those of the town.

Coun Williams said: “I am writing to the chief executive of Blackpool Council together with the director of places and members of the economic team to urge them to insist Balfour Beatty involve the council in regard to the selling of the airport.

“We can no longer sit on our hands and see this valuable facility erode even further.

“We need to know what Balfour Beatty’s contracts are with the existing users and whether or not these commercial arrangements are behind the reason for the sale.

“Balfour has failed to retain a commercial airport.

“We want a buyer who is willing to invest and grow the airport and that’s why this time the council has to do more to safeguard its future.”

The airport was shut by Balfour Beatty in 2014 before being re-opened by a wholly owned subsidiary of the company.

The airport had previously been involved in a lengthy court battle with airline Jet2 over contract conditions which it said made operations unprofitable.