Infrastructure company Balfour Beatty has announced that they have reached an agreement with Blackpool Council to offload its majority interest in Blackpool Airport.
The group agreed to sell its 95% stake in the airport back to the council for £4.25m, with a spokesperson saying the sale “further simplifies the portfolio, in line with the group’s strategy.”
The deal will see the airport brought back into full public ownership for the first time in 13 years.
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.
“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.”
Blackburn continued: “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.”