Blackpool International Airport is located on Lancashire’s Fylde coast in the UK. It was formerly known as Squires Gate Airport. In 1937, the airport was taken over by RAF Coastal Command and the airfield facilities were developed.
In 2008, Balfour Beatty purchased a 95% stake held by MAR Properties in the airport for £14m, while the Blackpool Council held the remaining 5%.
Balfour Beatty closed the airport in October 2014 due to financial losses caused by less than anticipated passenger traffic. Spread over 198ha, the airport handled 262,630 passengers and 12,045 aircraft movements in 2013.
The airport was, however, reopened later for non-commercial operations. It was declared as an Enterprise Zone in April 2016, enabling tax breaks and government support for users.
Blackpool Council purchased Balfour Beatty’s entire stake in the airport in September 2017 for £4.25m ($5.62m).
Master plan for Blackpool airport’s future development
The master plan of the airport was prepared in March 2006 in accordance with the UK Department for Transport (DfT) guidelines of July 2004. It covered development of the airport starting from December 2003 to 2030.
It recommended improved passenger and aircraft movement areas, as well as airspace, infrastructure and surface access at the airport.
Expansions of facilities at Blackpool International Airport
A £1m project to upgrade the runway and taxiway at the airport was initiated in February 2009. The project involved increasing the capacity by expanding the runway and taxiways with more than 250,000ft² of new surface and adding 3,500t of asphalt.
The contract was awarded to Colas Group. The phase I construction started in February 2009 and was supposed to be completed within a five-week period.
The £2m project, involving refurbishment of the airport terminal and car park, was completed in February 2006.
The project involved improving the airport by adding an additional baggage reclaim belt, more check-in desks, departure and executive lounges, as well as a new flight information system and shopping facilities.
Terminal features at the Lancastrian airport
The airport has a single passenger terminal, which has a total area of 3,800m². The terminal has a capacity to handle up to two million passengers a year. The facilities at the terminal included 14 check-in desks, six departure gates, an additional baggage reclaim carousel and 5,000ft² of retail space.
An international currency exchange unit was located opposite to the check-in area.
The terminal features included meeting and arrivals areas, tourist information centres, Horizons cafe, bars and restaurants. It also had a departure lounge with a capacity to accommodate up to 600 passengers.
Runways at the airport
The airport has two asphalt-paved runways. The first runway (10/28) is 1,869m-long, while the second runway (13/31) is 1,004m-long.
Crashes at Blackpool international airport
In August 1941, Flights L6509 and N1745 flights were involved in a mid-air collision over Blackpool’s central seafront. The incident caused severe damage to the Blackpool Central railway station and killed 12 people.
In June 1972, HFB-320 Hansa Jet flight crashed during take-off and caught fire. Two crew members and five of the six passengers were killed in the accident. On 27 September 1982, a flight belonging to Harvest Air was damaged in an accident at the airport.
In December 2006, AS365N Eurocopter crashed into the Irish Sea. The cause of the accident was pilot’s error.
In February 2007, a Piper Cherokee flight crashed in the Fylde Coast, when it was approaching to the airport. The on-board crew were killed in the accident.
Ground transportation connections
The airport is well connected with numerous ground transportation facilities. Direct trains from the Northern Rail service connect Squires Gate railway station and Blackpool South.
Blackpool Transport provides bus services from the airport to the city. Blackpool Transport tram services and taxi services are also available at the airport.
Car rental services at the airport were provided by companies such as Hertz, Europcar and Avis. Europcar and Avis offices were located outside the terminal doors near car park and the Hertz office was located outside the arrivals area.
Car parking lots and spaces
The airport has two car parking lots, P1 and P2, which provide both short-term and long-term parking facilities. Free parking was available up to 15 days to all departing passengers in both parking areas.