Fears for flights after Blackpool Airport sell-off date set

A date has been set for the sell-off of equipment at Blackpool Airport – and supporters have warned the auction could signal the end to hopes of major commercial flights returning to the resort.

The Gazette revealed in March significant items had been put up for sale by auction house Peaker Pattinson.

They are asset stripping the terminal. If an airline came along it would cost £10m to £15m to get the place going again – there is no way Balfour Beatty will pay that money

The sale included fire tender trucks, machines for starting jet engines, a fuel bowser and x-ray machines and equipment from the terminal.

Now Peaker Pattinson has revealed an online sale of items will take place on May 14 – with viewing of all items available by appointment only on May 12 at the airport in Squires Gate Lane.

Earlier this year Blackpool Council said any sell-off would not affect the airport’s future – with Citywing carrier flights taking-off between Blackpool and the Isle of Man earlier this month.

But Rob Blower, chairman of campaign group Save Blackpool Airport, warned owner Balfour Beatty has “no intention” of opening the site to major commercial operations – adding the terminal could eventually be demolished.

Mr Blower said: “They are asset stripping the terminal. If an airline came along it would cost £10m to £15m to get the place going again – there is no way Balfour Beatty will pay that money.

“We are getting dangerously close to the auction. After that it will never re-open to commercial flights.

“The nails are in the coffin and the soil is being shovelled on top. Balfour Beatty promised not to touch the terminal but they are taking everything out of it. If you look through the list they want every trace of commercial flights in the place to go.

“They can’t get commercial flights if there is no terminal. Once the auction takes place and the items go I believe they will try and declare the terminal unsafe and knock it down.”

Balfour Beatty announced in August it was putting the site up for sale, before confirming it would close after no buyer could be found.

In November Squires Gate Airport Operations – a firm set up by parent organisation and airport owner Balfour Beatty – bought the airport and last month carrier Citywing announced a new route between the Isle of Man and Blackpool.

It was also confirmed the airport would form part of a new enterprise zone.

But Coun John Jones, who holds the portfolio for the airport on the council, said people should not get too concerned about the auction.

He added: “I met with Balfour Beatty last Tuesday and raised these concerns. I was told that the equipment being sold has no detrimental effect to the airport.

“I understand people’s concerns about larger jet flights. I have been assured if a major airline came they would snap their hand off and try to make it work.

“The meeting I had with Balfour Beatty was quite upbeat. I would say as a council we are working extremely hard to make sure it remains as an airport.”

A spokesman for Balfour Beatty said the company would not be commenting further.For more information go to www.ppauctions.com.