Mark Menzies welcomes plans for new airport Enterprise Zone

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FYLDE MP Mark Menzies today welcomed plans to create a new arm of the Lancashire Enterprise Zone at Blackpool Airport.

The Lancashire zone is currently made up of sites in Warton and Salmesbury, with the new Fylde coast location set to be announced in this week’s budget.

Since the airport was closed last year, Mr Menzies, in whose Fylde constituency the airfield sits, has been pushing the Government to support the airport through a number of financial measures.

The Member of Parliament said: “I am delighted the Chancellor has confirmed parts of Blackpool Airport will be given Enterprise Zone status, which will help secure the site’s economic future and allow commercial travel to return in the future.

“When the airport’s closure was first discussed last year I met with George Osborne to ask for Government support and that was when we first talked about making the site part of the Enterprise Zone.

“This announcement will help bring businesses to the area, many of which will be attracted by the availability of a working runway on site, and lead to job creation, growth and connectivity for the wider Fylde coast.

“I recently met with owners Balfour Beatty and local councillors at the airfield to discuss ways to secure the site financially so this status will have a big impact on their plans for the future, I am sure.

“I remain determined to keep this airfield working as it is a proud part of the Fylde’s aviation history and I feel has the ability to be a successful commercial airport with the correct support. This announcement of Government backing is the first step towards that.”

Mr Menzies also welcomed a report from the Transport Select Committee which urged the Government to drop Air Passenger Duty (APD) for smaller airports.

This was something else Mr Menzies had raised during the meeting he had with the Chancellor to discuss Blackpool Airport, and he said he was pleased to have the support of such a powerful committee in Parliament.

He added: “I was delighted to see the Transport Select Committee echoed my feeling that APD should be scrapped for smaller airports, to increase their viability and sustainability against bigger regional competitors.

“As air travel for work and leisure becomes ever more prevalent, people and businesses will look more and more to regional airports to provide a different offering to the major hubs.

“We have been successful on the first request for support for Blackpool Airport and I will keep pushing for the second.”

The Chancellor announced the new Enterprise Zone in a column in the Sun on Sunday newspaper this weekend with the full details expected in Wednesday’s Budget.

 

PICTURE: Mark Menzies MP with Balfour Beatty’s Stuart Orrell, Coun Peter Buckley, Coun Karen Buckley, Coun Angela Jacques and Paul Rankin, from Blackpool Airport

 

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