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Blackpool International Airport
Squires Gate Airport
Blackpool International Airport.jpg
Blackpool International Airport terminal building
Airport type Public
Owner Blackpool Airport Ltd
Operator Balfour Beatty
Serves Blackpool
Location Blackpool, Lancashire
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 34 ft / 10 m
Coordinates 53°46′17″N 003°01′42″W / 53.77139°N 3.02833°W / 53.77139; -3.02833 (Blackpool International Airport)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
07/25 799 2,621 Asphalt
10/28 1,869 6,132 Asphalt
13/31 1,077 3,533 Asphalt
Statistics (2009)
Movements 52,575
Passengers 276,866
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Blackpool International Airport (IATA: BLKICAO: EGNH) is an international airport, in the Borough of Blackpool on the Fylde coast of Lancashire, England. It was formerly known as Squires Gate airport.

With aviation roots that trace back to 1909, Blackpool Airport was the first aviation site in the UK. The airport was owned and operated by City Hopper Airports Limited, which also owns Wolverhampton Airport and Biella Airport in Italy, before, in January 2007, being placed under new management after one of its two major shareholders bought out its partner. MAR Properties Ltd agreed terms to take over full control of Blackpool and Wolverhampton Airports.[3] In May 2008, it was announced that Balfour Beatty had purchased MAR Property's 95% stake in the airport.[4] The remaining 5% stake is held by Blackpool Borough Council.[5]

Blackpool Airport Limited has a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P724) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. By the number of passengers handled, Blackpool is the 31st busiest in the UK.

Several scheduled airlines operate from the airport, as well as charter holiday flights in the summer months. Executive flights operated by J-Max Air Services, which includes Netjets, are also served from Blackpool. Helicopter operations serve north west England’s Irish Sea offshore gas facilities. This service is operated by CHC Scotia. Blackpool Airport is also home to the North West Air Ambulance service operated by two twin-engined Eurocopter EC 135, registered G-NWAA and G-SPHU.

Passenger numbers decreased sharply from 439,200 in 2008 to 276,866 in 2008, a 36.9% reduction.[2]



The airport site's first aviation use was in October 1909, when the UK's first official public Flying Meeting was held on a specially laid out site at Squires Gate, followed by another in 1910. By 1911 the site had become a racecourse and it was used as a military hospital during World War I and until 1924. Flights from the site resumed in the early 1930s. Small UK airlines used the airfield during the mid 1930s. Railway Air Services commenced schedules to Blackpool from 15 April 1935, linking the airport with the Isle of Man, Manchester and Liverpool. Connections could be made at the two cities to London and the south and west of England.[6] In June 1937, airline operations were transferred to Stanley Park Aerodrome. [7]

Work on enlarging and improving the airfield and facilities began in late 1937, but the aerodrome was requistioned by the Air Ministry in 1938.[8] During World War II, Vickers operated an aircraft production facility at Squires Gate, producing 2,584 Wellington Medium bombers, several hundred of which were assembled and flown from Stanley Park Aerodrome. Three bituminous runways were laid to support operations by Vickers and the based units of the Royal Air Force.[9]

Scheduled flights were resumed by Isle of Man Air Services in summer 1946. Lancashire Aircraft Corporation and other private airlines established their bases at the airport from 1946 onwards. By 1949, the airfield was controlled by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and renamed Blackpool Airport. In the mid 1950s, Hawker Hunter jet fighters were produced in the WW2 factory at the north-east edge of the airfield.

Until January 2006 an Avro Vulcan bomber (Registration: XL391) was on static display outside the entrance to the airport. It was originally put up for sale in October 2004 on eBay and purchased by pub landlord Chris Ollerenshaw for £15,102.03 who had intentions to transport it to his pub and display it in his beer garden. However after finding out that the condition of the aircraft was so poor that moving it would be extremely challenging and that it would cost over £20,000 in addition to the reported £1000 a week storage charge, Mr Ollernshaw pulled out of the deal and demanded his money back and later relinquished ownershp of the plane back to the airport. The Vulcan was then sold on for scrap for £4000 and was scrapped and completely removed from the site on 12 January 2006.[citation needed]

Current operations

In recent years the airport has been steadily expanding, accommodating helicopter operations for British Gas, and attracting scheduled flights from budget airlines, and Ryanair and also scheduled services by smaller operators to the Isle of Man. Since World War II, the airport has also been a thriving centre for private, club and general aviation. Ryanair have since left the airport.

In 2005, became the first major low cost airline to base an aircraft at Blackpool Airport. This created around 50 new jobs and boosted passenger numbers. It now serves seven destinations from the airport - five in Spain and the Canaries (Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Murcia, Tenerife, Málaga), one in Portugal (Faro). Jet2 also offers a domestic service to Belfast

Also in 2005, Monarch Airlines set up a new route to Malaga, three times a week. After a year though the airline ceased services, blaming low passenger numbers as the reason. However, had earlier announced that it would be operating flights to Malaga.

In February 2006, the airport completed an investment of £2 million in refurbishing the airport terminal and car parks. The improvements included more check-in desks, new eating facilities, a new information desk, an open-plan departure lounge, more gates, new shopping facilities, an executive lounge, a new flight information system, an additional baggage reclaim belt and a new interior colour scheme and logo.[citation needed]

A new long stay car park was created while the existing area was extended. Later in 2006 the aircraft parking area was extended.[citation needed]

British North West Airlines, the smallest airline based at Blackpool has now, according to its website, stopped trading for both charter and scheduled flights. The website links all viewers to Manx2, which is now flying the route up to four times a day. Manx2 has brought low fares to the Isle of Man route, and passenger numbers on this route doubled in January 2007.[citation needed]

With the growth of the airport, a new carrier, the ACMI company, Jetstream Executive, operating under the name, Jetstream Express, introduced flights in 2007 from the airport to Belfast City Airport from (May), Aberdeen Airport (from June) and Southampton Airport (from July). The Belfast route was in competition with, who operate twice daily between Blackpool and Belfast International Airport. Two Jetstream 31s were based at the airport. However, in June 2007 a notice appeared on the Jetsteam Express website stating - "With immediate effect, Jetstream Express have ceased operating the routes to Blackpool, Aberdeen, Southampton and Belfast", adding that all flights were withdrawn as the routes have not proved viable.

In 2007 cancelled its Prague and Amsterdam services. Ryanair also cancelled its twice daily flights to London Stansted stating that it fell into the bottom three routes across its network.

On 6 May 2008, Balfour Beatty bought a 95% stake in the airport for a£14million.[4] The construction company also owns Exeter Airport. The company stated that one of their top priorities is to re-establish a link to London,[10] which Blackpool lost in 2007 when Ryanair discontinued its Stansted route.

On 18 July 2008, the Blackpool Gazette announced that planned to suspend its daily service from Blackpool to Belfast International for the winter. A dip in passenger numbers and the rising price of oil has taken its toll on the service. According to the newspaper, will restart the daily Belfast service from March 2009.[11]

In the summer of 2008 Ryanair announced a large cut in capacity at a number of airports,including Stansted, from October 2008 to March 2009, although Blackpool was not affected by these cuts.[11] However, on 25 November 2008 Ryanair announced the intention to withdraw all flights from 5 January 2009 following the airport's introduction of a £10 per person airport development fee.[12] [13]

Airlines and destinations


Scheduled flights

Airlines Destinations
Aer Arann Dublin [ends 27 March]
Aer Lingus Regional operated by Aer Arann Dublin [begins 28 March] Alicante, Belfast-International [seasonal], Faro [seasonal], Jersey [begins 28 May; seasonal], Málaga [seasonal], Murcia [seasonal], Palma de Mallorca [seasonal], Tenerife-South
Manx2 Belfast-City, Belfast-International, Isle of Man

Charter flights

Airlines Destinations
BH Air Burgas [begins 9 August; seasonal]


Other flight-providing organisations at the airport include:


Number of Passengers Aircraft Movements
2001 80,501 71,788
2002 70,385 68,786
2003 186,740 75,371
2004 266,179 76,314
2005 377,073 76,779
2006 552,724 65,990
2007 558,278 58,824
2008 439,200 54,249
2009 276,866 52,575
Source: CAA Official Statistics[14]

Accidents and incidents

On 27 August 1941 two aircraft, a Blackburn Botha trainer and a Boulton Paul Defiant fighter, registered L6509 and N1745 respectively, collided in midair over the sea, just off Blackpool's central seafront. The debris from the collision was strewn over a large area but a large part of it struck the then Blackpool Central railway station causing severe damage and killing 12 people. Both aircraft had taken off from Blackpool Airport.

On 29th June 1972 a HFB-320 Hansa Jet, registration D-CASY crashed on take-off. The pilot attempted to abort the take-off but over shot the end of the runway, crossed some grass land to the airport boundary. The aircraft then crossed over railway lines and continued into a holiday camp immediately bordering the airport, demolishing six chalets, damaging several others and finally catching fire. 2 crew members and 5 of the 6 passengers were killed. Nobody in the holiday camp was hurt.

On 27 December 2006 a Eurocopter AS365N, registration G-BLUN, crashed into the Irish Sea, 24 miles offshore because of pilot error. The helicopter was based at Blackpool Airport.

On 3 February 2007 a Piper Cherokee registered G-BBBK was approaching the airport when it crashed on to the beach on the Fylde Coast. Both men were killed in the crash.



  1. ^ "Blackpool - EGNH". National Air Traffic Services. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "UK Airport Statistics: 2009 - annual". Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  3. ^ Airliner World (Key Publishing Ltd) (January 2007). January 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  4. ^ a b Bradley, Jane (14 August 2008). "Public-sector work lifts Balfour Beatty". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  5. ^ Parkinson, Shelagh (15 August 2008). "Profit rise for Blackpool airport owners". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  6. ^ Stroud, John (20 July 1987). Railway Air Services. Ian Allan Ltd. pp. 47. ISBN 0711017433. 
  7. ^ Stroud, John (20 July 1987). Railway Air Services. Ian Allan Ltd. pp. 129. ISBN 0711017433. 
  8. ^ Stroud, John (20 July 1987). Railway Air Services. Ian Allan Ltd. pp. 128. ISBN 0711017433. 
  9. ^ Pooley, Robert (1966). Air Touring Flight Guide - United Kingdom - 1966. The Light Aircraft Publishing Company Limited. p. 48. ISBN none. 
  10. ^ Hyde, Nick (10 May 2008). "Blackpool's London flight call". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  11. ^ a b "Blackpool Airport drops Belfast flight". Blackpool Gazette. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  12. ^ Hyde, Nick (25 November 2008). "Ryanair to quit Blackpool airport". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  13. ^ "Ryanair Slams Development Fee at Blackpool Airport". Ryanair. 25 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  14. ^ UK Airport Statistics

External links


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