Mark Menzies MP in debate support for Blackpool Airport

FYLDE MP Mark Menzies spoke in support of Blackpool Airport during a debate on air passenger duty in Parliament.

The Westminster Hall debate focussed on how the tax effects smaller regional airports and how it could be used to benefit the UK’s wider aviation infrastructure.

Mr Menzies told the meeting that while Blackpool Airport had closed last year it had recently reopened for smaller flights to Belfast and the Isle of Man but was “hanging by a thread”.

He also warned MPs and Treasury Secretary David Gauke MP that when decisions over air passenger duty are devolved to Scotland, where it may be abolished, airports in the north risk carriers moving their operations across the border.

He closed his contribution by urging the Government to utilise northern runways while the south east struggles for capacity and made a plea for “any help it can get” for Blackpool Airport.

Following the meeting, Mr Menzies said: “I felt the debate covered some important points, many similar to the ones I included in my adjournment debate when Blackpool Airport closed this time last year.

“A reduction in air passenger duty for flights from smaller regional airports would, I feel, provide a level playing field for them to work on and make smaller airfields more attractive to airlines to operate from.

“This becomes even more important for northern airports as decisions over air passenger duty are devolved to Scotland and cheaper flights may be able to be found north of the border.

“I ended my contribution to the debate with a plea for airfields like Blackpool which are currently hanging on by a thread and highlighted how much of a loss they would be to our transport infrastructure at a time when aviation is booming.

“I was pleased to hear from the Minister that the Government is currently carrying out a review of air passenger duty and have contacted Balfour Beatty to ensure the issues at Blackpool Airport are represented as part of that process.

“The sad fact in Blackpool was that, for whatever reason, the airport was losing millions of pounds which is what resulted in its closure. That is why the Government has tried to help the situation by giving the site Enterprise Zone status, which should bring in private investment to put it on a solid financial footing and allow commercial aviation to return.”

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