Earlier this month, Blackpool Airport was on the losing end of a High Court battle with budget airline, Jet2. The airport, which runs flights to the Isle of Man, Spain, and Italy, was defending a decision to send staff members home after 9pm, forcing Jet2 to divert late night journeys to Manchester Airport. The move, said airline bosses, was designed to “interfere” with Jet2’s operations in the northwest.
The airline was granted a temporary injunction by High Court judges, ordering Blackpool Airport to accept flights well into the night. However, Paul Rankin, boss at the northwest hub, intimated that Jet2 was being intentionally belligerent, by “refusing” to apply for permission to operate after hours flights from the holiday resort. Paul also noted that Blackpool was closing early to reduce losses, which currently stand at £2.5m.
Closer to the present, Jet2 is now seeking a permanent extension to opening hours at Blackpool Airport. Ironically, success could seriously hurt the airline’s business in the northwest: Blackpool is currently mulling over 85 redundancies, which means that the airport has neither the capital nor the manpower to open later than normal. Forcing the hub to exist beyond its means could run it into the ground, throwing Jet2 out on its ear.
Blackpool’s solicitors have blamed Jet2 for the airport’s financial woes, stating that the airline has not increased flights to and from the northwest, as per the terms of its contract with the hub. Responding, Jet2’s lawyer, Philip Shepherd, said that airport bosses have done nothing to promote the airline’s business. Consequently, there is no demand for new flights in the northwest.
Shepherd noted that Jet2 and Blackpool have endured a “strained” relationship for a good half-decade, following the departure of Ryanair in 2005. The most recent row appears to have erupted on a weekend at the end of October, when, following a flight diversion, Jet2 had to transport a group of angry passengers from Manchester, back to Blackpool.