“I’m absolutely all for it opening again, it would be great, but clearly it would need to be a viable proposition”
It’s been gone almost a decade, but last week Boris Johnson called on Blackpool Council to relaunch holiday flights from Blackpool Airport.
It closed to commercial flights in September 2014 with debts of £34m. Now, it is a quiet place, only operating private chartered flights, an air school and the North West Air Ambulance among other small journeys.
Boris Johnson visited the resort last Thursday (June 9) and urged Blackpool Council to look at what can be done to re-introduce holiday flights to the airport. Currently, Citywing is the only commercial airline operating from the Blackpool base where travellers can fly to the Isle of Man via Castletown twice a day.
The Prime Minister said the town needed the “Conservative politicians with a vision to take it on” as well as suggesting the council look at Teesside Airport as a model example, pointing out that the Darlington airport has “bars, duty free, conference facilities and flights going to holiday destinations in Europe”.
Endorsements for the airport to make a comeback, with both holiday flights and national flights, were echoed by those knocking about in Blackpool town centre this afternoon (June 16). LancsLive went out to get a flavour of what locals thought.
Wes, who has lived in the seaside resort for 30 years, said: “I think it should be open all year round. I have flown from it before to Benidorm and into Amsterdam, I think Belgium. I’ve been on a few flights from there, especially from a young age.
“I don’t see any problems with it. I saw it was just getting bigger and bigger, little things I didn’t approve of was when they were charging £5 just to go in it, stuff like that. But I think it can only be good for the town. I’ve even done flights from Blackpool to Stansted because I’m originally from down south where I go and see family. I do think it will help our tourism as well, people coming in from down south too.”
Being able to take holiday flights from Blackpool was also an option readers on Facebook would like to see. Lorna Price wrote: “Of course it should never have been closed in the first place. Used it to fly to Tenerife Dublin & London. With rail & tram links in place & the rejuvenation of Blackpool it is a sensible option for the future of the town. Also better than travelling to Manchester which is a nightmare.”
The ongoing issues reported from Manchester Airport seems to have spurred on even more enthusiasm for Blackpool Airport making a return. Thomas, 60, also endorsed the airports re-opening, especially for tourists flying into Manchester. He said: “I work in hotels and people from miles out come in. It could help because it takes hours otherwise. Its not a stone throw, if you drive all the way down it takes hours.”
Like Wes, Thomas has also travelled from Blackpool Airport to Stanstead before and he feels its a good way to level up the North. “I live near the airport as well, so that was good.”
Phillip Holman was visiting Blackpool on his motorbike having made the trip up from Liverpool. He feels the re-opening of holiday flights would be a good idea, “especially with the situation with Manchester Airport at the moment”.
He continued: “I usually fly from Manchester, sometimes Liverpool, and obviously Liverpool has no problems at the moment with it being so small. I can’t see any negatives at all, its a building that’s not being used and there’s employment to be thought of as well.”
Claire Gibson moved to Blackpool in 2016. She said that both herself and ‘a lot’ of people she knows think the airport should be re-opened. “It’s an employment thing isn’t it? It would bring people in, that’s what I think, because for business flights when people are going to wherever, I just think its a good thing.”
Christine Marter was visiting Blackpool from Glasgow with her husband. Despite not being local to the resort, she still thinks the airport should be re-opened for all flights. She told LancsLive: “I think it’s a good idea, people will use it a lot and it is handy.”
Christine and her husband travelled down to Blackpool from Glasgow via train and said it took them ‘around three hours’. She admitted she would consider flying instead but added: “it depends on the price, obviously.”
Its not just Christine who wasn’t quite ready to jump on the rave train for the airport’s re-opening. Nadine Wiseman replied: “Presumably it closed because there wasn’t enough demand? I’m absolutely all for it opening again, it would be great, but clearly it would need to be a viable proposition. There’s hugely insufficient staff for the existing airports as it is. Just be cautious about whatever Johnson says, he very rarely follows through on anything and just says things he thinks will gain him maximum popularity/coverage right then, then wanders off without ever intending to implement any of it.
Rob moved to Blackpool in 2021 and despite having never been, he thinks the airport should be re-opened. He explained: “I’ve never been to the airport but I have taken flights from Manchester and Liverpool. It would be a lot easier for people to get there.
As well as using the airport to take trips abroad, Rob felt it was important for those taking national flights too. “If it means people can get flights straight into Blackpool, that would be good, and they could employ more staff too.”
Blackpool South Conservative MP Scott Benton said the Government had recently introduced measures including halving passenger duty which would help regional airports like Blackpool.
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