A major expansion of Blackpool Airport has been unveiled – marking the first new developments at the site in more than 15 years.
Blackpool Council reacquired Blackpool Airport from Balfour Beatty in September 2017 for £4.25 million, via its ownership of Blackpool Airport Operations Ltd and Blackpool Airport Property Ltd.
The purchase saved the airport from risk of permanent closure and secured its long-term future as part of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.
The airport now aims to unlock 10 hectares of land around the north of the site for a new digital and technology quarter called Silicon Sands, which will include new data centres and commercial business units.
Architectural consultants Cassidy + Ashton and engineering consultants WSP supported design of the masterplan.
Outline planning consent is also sought for three 20,000 sq ft hangars.
Two additional hangars, capable of housing larger aircraft such as a Boeing 737 or Airbus A321 for maintenance, repair and overhaul activities, are also in the plans.
A new road off Amy Johnson Way to access both sets of hangars is proposed, plus a 6,000 sq ft commercial business unit.
The wider masterplan involves a new general aviation, training, maintenance and helicopter base at the airport.
A corporate jet hangar, an executive aircraft handling facility, new administrative facilities and a large apron and additional hangars are part of longer-term plans.
Other related critical infrastructure plans will follow later this year.
Blackpool Airport is the second busiest general aviation airport in the country, with almost 30,000 aero club and private flights in 2022. Around 40,000 flights have occurred in 2023 so far.
If approved, the hangar plots will be available to build over several years on a phased basis, with enabling work for the new access roads expected in the next six months.
“Our general aviation community is vitally important, along with our flight training operators, and these new hangars will create purpose-built facilities for them close to the runway. We can then explore further potential developments over the coming years,” said Cllr Gillian Campbell, chairperson of the board at Blackpool Airport Operations.
Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for levelling up, added: “It is a complex task to redesign a working airport while keeping it fully operational and that can’t happen overnight. I’m delighted that we are now able to make forward strides that will help protect the airport and help to make Blackpool better.”
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