Blackpool Airport

Blackpool Airport is cleared for take off once more after being granted its licence to fly from today.

The new operating company  “Squires Gate Airport Operations”  is gearing up for a relaunch after the Civil Aviation Authority gave the all clear.

It means the airport can resume limited commercial flights with air traffic control and emergency fire cover.

It is understood that around 33 staff will be back at work at the airport from today with a full official opening and return of operations due next week.

The airport closed down on October 15 with the loss of 100 jobs when operating company Blackpool Airports Ltd went into liquidation.

It spelled the end for the international scale Category 7 commercial operations, such as that carried out by Jet2 which flew to 11 overseas destinations.

But now Squires Gate has been set up to resume reduced services as a Category 3 airport.

Owners of the new operating company, Balfour Beatty, confirmed the licence had been returned and operations were to resume next week.

The news has been welcomed across the Fylde where the closure caused dismay and fears the local economy would suffer a major setback.

Peter Eckersley, from Westair, which offers aviation services from its hangar at the airport including corporate flights, aircraft maintenance and flying lessons, said it was fabulous news and had come at a crucial time of year.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted to have full service restored and get business back on track and to push forward. Trial flying lessons are a great driver of business for the whole airport, not just us, with fuel costs and landing fees right through the year. With many people thinking the airport is closed it could affect that business here.

“It is good to see the jobs coming back here, and we can’t wait for the official opening to let everyone know we are all back in operation.”


Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who has been lobbying ministers at Westminster for support for the airport, along with the other Fylde coast MPs, said: “The news that our airport is reopening with jobs returning to the site is fantastic, and a good first step in getting it fully up and running again.

“While this is a great start we must not lose sight of our ultimate goal of getting regular scheduled flights operating from the airport again.

“Being realistic, that may take some time, but with the airport now being on a more stable footing it makes that more likely in the long term.”

One of the airline companies which had to cease operations from Blackpool in October was Citywing, which flies to the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland.

Managing director David Buck today said he was pleased that it had got its licence back and that he would be watching developments.

He said: “This is great news. It’s an excellent move forward and excellent for the area. The airport has been greatly missed and I am very pleased at this development.”

Rob Blower, from the Save Blackpool Airport pressure group, said: “I am pleased it’s getting its licence back, its a good start. I would be interested to know if it could get its Class 7 licence back, which would allow jet airliners to fly out from there in future.

“That is what people really want. You don’t know what you have got until its gone and so many people were disappointed when it closed.

“It was bad for the economy.”