Blackpool Airport operations are now officially in the hands of the council after licence switch

Blackpool airport is now officially run by the council, after operating licences were finally transferred by the Civil Aviation Authority.

By Tim Gavell
Thursday, 4th November 2021, 10:18 am

The council said the move paves the way for a new era at the Squires Gate airport and brings it into line with others around the country where the owner holds the licences.

The arm's length company, Blackpool Airport Operations Limited, now holds the licences and will take over the day to day running of the airport.

The move followed a lengthy review and intensive work behind the scenes by the Airport and Blackpool Council transition team over the past six months which has resulted in the UK Civil Aviation Authority issuing an Aerodrome Licence and Air Navigations Service Provider (ANSP) Certification to BAOL.

Staff at Blackpool Airport celebrate the handing over of the operating licences to Blackpool Airport Operations Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blackpool Council

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The airport, which was bought by the council from Balfour Beatty in September 2017 for £4.25m after it had been temporarily closed due to mounting debts, had been run most recently by Stratford-based Regional and City Airports, part of the Rigby Group, which owns four airports of its own and had the licences to run two others, including Blackpool.

To mark the handover, staff at Blackpool Airport gathered to celebrate the event with a cake-cutting.

Coun Gillian Campbell, chairman of the Board at BAOL, said: “We set off on this journey recognising the size and complexity of the task ahead, and enlisted the help of aviation specialist, Sally Franks to lead the team through the transition period.

Coun Jason Roberts, non-executive director BAOL Board, Coun Gillian Campbell, chairman of BAOL Board, Coun Mark Smith, cabinet member for enterprise, business and job creation cut the cake

"The whole team has done an outstanding job, working tirelessly with the CAA and the outgoing management company to ensure a smooth and

seamless transition of operations.

“The purpose of the event was to say a big thank you to all our staff and to recognise all their hard work. Blackpool Airport is back in control of its own destiny and we’re excited to be at the threshold of a new era where we can build a bigger, brighter, more profitable future.”

The airport is at the centre of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, which has seen significant development of the land around the runway and hangars to create new industrial buildings and jobs. A new sports pitch complex opened last month at the Eastern end of the huge site.

BAOL said its goals were to:

1. Maximise opportunities for growth as part of the Enterprise Zone,

2. Achieve a greater level of direct operational control and flexibility to take sound investment


3. Be more efficient and cost effective.

4. Ensure a long-term, sustainable future for one of England’s oldest airports and a key

strategic asset for the Fylde Coast.

The council said that to date it had invested nearly £2m in the upgrade and maintenance of essential infrastructure, with further significant investment planned.

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