Blackpool airport business is tipped to take off by MP after change in management

Blackpool airport could be set up for an increase in flights in the future, following the council's takeover of day to day running, a resort MP has said.

The Squires Gate aerodrome is now officially run by the council's subsidiary Blackpool Airport Operations Ltd, after 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.

It had been previously run for the council under contract by Stratford-based Regional and City Airports, part of the Rigby Group.

The changeover has been welcomed by Blackpool South MP Scott Benton who said it opened up new opportunities and would be aided by the Government's Autumn Budget announcement of a cut in air passenger tax for flights within the UK.

Commercial flights at Blackpool Airport such as those by Jet2 operated until October 2014 are the goal for Blackpool South MP Scott Benton who has welcomed a change in management at Squires Gate

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He said: "Re-opening Blackpool Airport for commercial flights was one of my campaign pledges and is an issue I have raised repeatedly both in Parliament and the constituency.

"The biggest single barrier to restoring commercial passenger flights at the Airport has been the high level of Air Passenger Duty (APD) charged on regional flights. After campaigning on this, I was pleased to see the duty cut by 50 per cent.

"This reduces the cost of internal air flights within the UK making Blackpool Airport a more viable destination for passenger flights. During correspondence and meetings with council officers about the Airport, and during my visits to different businesses there, this issue has been roared repeatedly.

Citywing's flights were the last commercial ones at Blackpool Airport before it went out of operation

"I hope the Labour run Council will take full advantage of these developments and reassess the potential for commercial passenger flights."

Stanley ward conservative councillor Jason Roberts said the takeover was another positive step forward for Blackpool Airport and the many businesses that have continued to operate from the aerodrome.

He said: "This is an important step towards developing the full potential of our Airport, by bringing the Operating Licenses back under the control of this Council owned subsidiary.

"This has taken sometime to complete, and would not have been possible without the hard work of the Airport Team. It will now allow, with the Boards direction, for the operation at the airport to be far more nimble in the future.

The airport is at the centre of the successful enterprise zone development

"Significant and targeted infrastructure investment has taken place over recent years, and this has paved the way for the future of our airport."

The last commercial flights at Blackpool Airport were by Citywing which flew to the Isle of Man and Belfast until 2017. Prior to that Jet2 operated flights to the Mediterranean until October 2014, when the mounting costs of operating the flights caused then owners Balfour Beatty to close it temporarily.

It re-opened two months later for private flights and general aviation which have continued ever since. The council bought it off Balfour Beatty for £4.25m in September 2017 and the airport later became the centre of the successful enterprise zone scheme.

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Staff and Blackpool Council have celebrated taking on the day to day running of the airport