Lancashire

Blackpool Airport: Talks under way to secure a future for the facility

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Media captionBalfour Beatty said the airport has been making a loss for a number of years and had to close

Talks are under way to try to secure a future for Blackpool Airport after its owners Balfour Beatty's announcement that it will close on 15 October.

The company said the airport has been making a loss for a number of years and had to close.

One airline which uses Blackpool, Jet2, will be transferring its flights to Manchester from Friday.

The airport is working with independent aviation businesses to see if they can stay at the site in the long term.

Blackpool Council is exploring the potential for turning it into an enterprise zone.

Balfour Beatty, which bought the site in 2008, put it up for sale in August.

About 110 staff are employed at the airport, which served some 235,000 passengers last year.

Those with an interest in the airport have been giving their reaction.

Balfour Beatty

Image caption The airport was put up for sale in August

Balfour Beatty remains the owner of the Blackpool Airport site and said it "will continue to work with the independent aviation businesses currently operating from Blackpool to develop a sustainable future for aviation services.

"We will also support the airport and local councils who are working together to develop regeneration plans for the area, which are designed to generate future employment and sustainable economic development opportunities for Blackpool and the Fylde."

Councillor John Jones, cabinet member for highways and transport, Blackpool Council

"We've got to be diverse and look at a technology park or a business park here.

"What they've done in the past hasn't worked and so we've got to look at other ways.

"We've been in talks with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and I hope we can extend the enterprise zone.

"We're concerned about the economy and jobs for people.. and we will do whatever we can to support the employees."

Jet 2

Image caption Jet2 is transferring its flights to Manchester from Friday

In a statement Jet2 said it was "saddened and disappointed" to hear about Blackpool's closure.

It said: "In order to minimise the disruption to our customers we have made the decision to move all flights scheduled to depart from and return to Blackpool Airport from Friday 10 October, to Manchester Airport instead.

"As an airline which has been committed to Blackpool for more than eight years we regret having to make this decision, but our priority is ensuring that the air travel plans of our customers are protected."

Citywing

Citywing operates flights to the Isle of Man and Belfast from Blackpool.

The airline has said it will suspend its flights to Blackpool from 15 October for four weeks while it takes "an active part" in discussions to find a way to re-open the airport.

Managing director, David Buck, said: 'Unfortunately, our discussions with a nearby airport to provide temporary facilities while Blackpool Airport's issues are resolved proved unworkable.

"We will keep our customers fully updated on progress over the next few weeks."

Mr Buck said all existing customers would be contacted and offered a full refund or alternative travel arrangements.

Simon Menzies, managing director of Pool Aviation (NW) Ltd.

Image caption Simon Menzies hopes the airport can be developed

Mr Menzies, who manages a fleet of aircraft for both commercial and private operations from the site, said: "There's always a compromise. Either we have an industrial development area or we have something that supports aerospace.

"The airport is part of the infrastructure of the area like schools, hospitals or roads and should be embraced as such."

North West Air Ambulance

The North West Air Ambulance has one of their three helicopters based at the airport.

Head of fundraising Jenny Haskey said: "We want to reassure the public that whatever happens we have a number of measures in place and our service will not be affected."

Passenger Joan Stott

Mrs Stott, from Lancaster, has flown regularly from Blackpool. She said: "It's been brilliant, you could just go, find a car park for free, the people are so lovely.

"I never, ever thought that nobody would buy it, it's very sad."

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