‘The security and flight crew were in tears’

Jill and David Eames in arrivals and, below, Bernard Stirzaker
Jill and David Eames in arrivals and, below, Bernard Stirzaker

Some of the last commercial passengers to touch down at Blackpool Airport have shared their sorrow at its closure.

Bernard and Anita Stirzaker, from Levens, near Kendal, use the airport every month to visit their apartment in Spain and were aboard yesterday evening’s arrival from Malaga.

Passengers arriving from Malaga on one of the last Jet2 flights to land at Blackpool. Bernard Stirzaker.

Passengers arriving from Malaga on one of the last Jet2 flights to land at Blackpool. Bernard Stirzaker.

Mrs Stirzaker, 55, said: “We’re gutted, it’s disgusting.

“Surely somebody could come and save something as precious as this?”

Mr Stirzaker, also 55, added: “The hostesses are in tears and the captain came round and said goodbye to us as well.”

Jill and David Eames, who are both in their 60s, were also on board.

Mrs Eames, from Preston Road, Lytham, said: “We’re upset because we love going from Blackpool.”

The couple use Jet2 at least twice a year.

Mr Eames added: “I’m also very upset for the employees who are losing their jobs.

“It’s a sad time because we’d always prefer to fly from here, and it’s somewhere that’s brought jobs into the area.”

Peter Mustoe, 56, from Sandyforth Avenue, Thornton, said: “I’m absolutely disgusted.

“This is the fourth time I’ve used the airport this year and I’m just devastated.

“I don’t think the council have put enough effort in to try and keep it going.

“Something’s definitely gone wrong.

“Every time we’ve gone out the flights have been full so why is it not making a profit?

“They’ve just destroyed what could have been a really good thing.

“The security staff and flight crew were in tears.”

Margaret and Paul Allinson, both 61, use the airport three times a year.

Mrs Allinson, from Lostock Gardens, South Shore, said: “It’s awful and it really is a shame.”

Mr Allinson added: “We’ll have to go to Manchester now but it involves the cost of driving down and car parking.

“It all adds to the cost of the holiday so we might have to look at less holidays or cheaper ones in future.”

Airport bosses say there are no plans to ‘mothball’ facility

Balfour Beatty confirmed today that it is planning to keep the runway and other facilities open in the short term to help the smaller companies.

A spokesman said: “We are not planning to mothball the facilities and runway (other than perhaps the current terminal) as we are working with the independent aviation businesses based at the airport to work out how they may be able to keep their operations ongoing.

“These discussions are still active.”

But it has advised customers worried about future booked flights to contact the operator for further details at Jet2.com www.Jet2.com/info, Aer Lingus Regional 0871 718 5000 and Citywing on 0871 200 0440.

Citywing said it has had to cancel, rather than re-route, its planned Blackpool flights.

Citywing 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.

“In order to minimise disruption to our passengers, we have reluctantly decided to suspend flights to Blackpool for a period of four weeks.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by Blackpool Airport’s decision and we will keep our customers fully updated on progress over the next few weeks.

National travel association ABTA said the closure was a blow for Blackpool’s economy and for staff and passengers.

A spokesman said: “This loss of a local airport will have a very damaging impact on the local economy in 
Blackpool with the loss of many ancillary services, and on the wider North West economy.

“ABTA’s consumer surveys have repeatedly found that people prefer to fly from a local option when one is available, and the UK is crying out for investment in airport 
infrastructure.

“The Government does not help the situation in maintaining the current level of sky-high aviation taxes, which are destructive of long term economic value.”