Balfour Beatty announces sale of Blackpool Airport to the local Council
Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, today announces that it has reached an agreement to sell its 95% share in Blackpool Airport to Blackpool Council, for a total cash consideration of £4.25 million.
A Balfour Beatty spokesperson said: “The sale of Blackpool Airport further simplifies the portfolio, in line with the Group’s strategy”.
Blackpool Council has now acquired all the shares in the operating company Regional and City Airports (Blackpool) Holdings Ltd.
Councillor Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Today is a really important day for aviation on the Fylde coast and this sale heralds a positive new dawn for Blackpool Airport. This move will protect the airport as a company, including the 30 jobs that are currently employed there. It will also allow us to ensure that the airport itself can continue to operate as an important hub that can benefit the whole region. Blackpool Airport is such a key part of having a strong local economy and it is absolutely vital that we safeguard its future and ensure that it can continue to be used as an aviation and employment hub for the Fylde coast for the long term.”
Councillor Blackburn added: “We do not envisage the return of large scale passenger planes to the airport. The purpose of this acquisition is to safeguard the helicopter and other commercial airside activities that take place, build upon them and deliver our overall objective of creating up to 5,000 jobs on the Enterprise Zone site. Blackpool Airport is the largest area of land in our thriving Enterprise Zone and this purchase will help us ensure that the airport continues to play a big part in making our Enterprise Zone one of the most successful in the country. As the current company stands, Blackpool Airport is profitable and as such we can be confident that the money for the purchase can be repaid.
“As a minority stakeholder, we have always retained an interest in the company continuing as an airport and serving the whole of the Fylde coast. Now as the sole owner, Blackpool residents can feel confident that we have the airport’s best interest at heart and will aim to support and grow the airport where possible. People can be confident that we have the airport’s best interests at heart, we will retain the current operating staff as well as exploring any potential opportunities for private companies with aviation interests to invest in the company so that it can grow in the future but this is not about trying to bring jumbo jets back to the airport anytime soon.”
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden, said: “The council is making a very important and strategic decision which should be welcomed. I have long felt that we need to secure the future of the airport as an aviation centre and that cannot be achieved if it passes into the hands of people who would simply be focused on housing or retail development. The strategic fit which the council is saying is the key factor is absolutely right. The Enterprise Zone and the existing activities at the airport offer significant potential for development in the future given the commercial activities in Liverpool Bay with energy and other renewables. It absolutely has to be carefully maintained financially but the idea that it should be a central part of economic strategy locally is completely correct.”
Fylde MP Mark Menzies, said: “It is vital we retain and grow an airport business on that site to ensure the Fylde coast has a strong economy. I’m delighted we will see the jobs on the site retained, and hope we can even increase the amount of business the airport does over time.”