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Airport Operators Association calls on government and CAA to help smaller airports

With the closure today of Blackpool Airport, the Airport Operators Association is calling on the government and the aviation regulator, the CAA, to do more to help the airports sector.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, said:

  • “Blackpool now joins Manston and Plymouth in the list of commercial airports which have had to close, to the detriment of their local communities and those who work and rely on the airports.
  • “Smaller airports are crucial for local businesses, inbound and outbound tourism, and in enabling people to visit friends and family across the UK and around the world. In some parts of the country, they are an essential lifeline.
  • “Smaller airports in particular have to cope with increasing fixed costs, required to enable them to fulfil their regulatory obligations. They also have to cope with an Air Passenger Duty (APD) level which is the highest in the world and which goes up every year. Families are often having to pay between a quarter and half their fare in APD, which not only affects passenger numbers but also affects route development and the frequency which airlines choose to operate.
  • “So the AOA is asking for both the CAA and the Government to take note. We believe in a competitive airport sector, but it is hard to compete with hands tied behind your back. So we call on the CAA as the aviation regulator to help keep costs down in future; and we call on the Treasury to review the impact APD is having on the UK’s connectivity and economy, with a view to reducing it as soon as possible.”