GA, not airlines, is Blackpool’s future

+VIDEO General Aviation, not commercial air transport, is the future of Blackpool Airport, according to a new report by consultants York Aviation.

The comprehensive report sets out the best opportunities to revive and secure the future of Blackpool Airport.

Passenger air transport would require such a high investment in facilities and staffing that it would require 1.5 million passengers per year to break even. The most the airport have ever managed is half that.

York Aviation identifies the main opportunities for future growth potential as:

    • Growth of existing areas of core business, particularly general aviation activity and flying tuition
    • Continuation of the contract for helicopter offshore operations
    • Creation of further opportunities for corporate and executive aviation activity, providing additional revenue for the airport
    • Opportunities to attract substantial aircraft maintenance repair and operational activity, with the main focus on smaller executive jet-type aircraft, bringing rent, movement and fuel income
    • Replacing old hangars with new build hangars located closer to the runway to increase capacity and income
    • Opening up attractive development land fronting Squires Gate Lane
    • Development of an on-site café with airside views.
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A summary of the report will be considered on Monday 5 November by Blackpool Council, which owns the airport.

Based on York’s recommendations, two wholly-owned Council companies, Squires Gate Operations Ltd (SGAOL), which looks after airport operations, and Blackpool Airport Properties Ltd (BAPL), which looks after the airport’s land and property on the 400-acre site, will be responsible for preparing and implementing a detailed business plan that will help to map out the long-term future for the airport.

Cllr Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Economic Development, for Blackpool Council said, “The York Aviation report provides clear guidance for future marketing opportunities and identifies priorities for investment. It gives an invaluable steer on management roles and responsibilities to enable a long term, sustainable, operational airport and the successful delivery of the overall Enterprise Zone.

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“At this stage, it is clear that the reintroduction of commercial flights is not financially viable. Similarly, the operation of smaller services such as flights to the Isle of Man, Dublin and Belfast, would break even at best. If we are to maintain an operational airport in Blackpool it is critical that we take heed of the financial reality.

“Our focus and dedication is to support the business sectors already operating and to promote opportunities for new growth for the airport.”

Blackpool Airport