Council buys Blackpool Airport in £4.25m deal

Balfour Beatty has sold its 95% share in Blackpool Airport to Blackpool Council for £4.25m in a deal which brings the airport back into full public ownership for the first time in 13 years.

The deal also draws a line under a long-running saga around the site’s ownership. Balfour Beatty originally bought the airport for £14m in 2008 and invested around £30m in the site. However, the company put the airport up for sale three years ago with no interest from buyers.

Commercial passenger flights have now stopped from Blackpool with the airport used for private aircraft and helicopter flights only and the new deal will not reintroduce large scale passenger services. Commenting on the deal, a Balfour Beatty spokesperson said: “The sale of Blackpool Airport further simplifies the portfolio, in line with the group’s strategy”.

Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “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.”

The council, which was previously a 5% shareholder in the airport, has signed a deal with previous owner Balfour Beatty to fully take over the operating company Regional and City Airports (Blackpool) Holdings for a total cash consideration of £4.25m. The council is acquiring all shares in the company and will take over 100% ownership of the airport site.

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