A planning application for five new hangars at Blackpool Airport, England, has been submitted.
If approved, it would mark the first new developments at the airport in over 15 years.
As part of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, outline planning consent is being sought for three 20,000 square-foot hangars suitable for light general aviation and small planes, including small corporate turboprops and warbird aircraft.
The application also includes two hangars capable of housing larger planes such as a Boeing 737 or Airbus A321 for MRO activities.
The hangars would be developed at the east side of the airport on land owned by Blackpool Council.
The sites for the new smaller hangars are south and east of the current JMAX hangar. The site for the larger hangars is to the west of JMAX.
The application also includes a new road to access both sets of hangars, plus a small 6,000 square-foot commercial business unit.
The development of the new Airport East hangars signals a period of regeneration for the airport and surrounding land, as part of the main Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone masterplan, which involves developing a general aviation, training, maintenance, and helicopter base at the east of the airport.
It is thought that creating new, modern hangars at the east side of the airport could allow some of the airport’s current occupiers to move across to more sustainable purpose-built facilities, as well as creating space for new fixed based customers.
Furthermore, a corporate jet hangar, executive aircraft handling facility hangar, airport administrative facilities and in the longer term a large apron and additional hangar facilities, are also planned for the areas at the west and centre of the airport.
Plans relating to other critical infrastructure at the airport including the Air Traffic Control tower and rescue and firefighting services will also follow later this year.
Blackpool Airport is the second busiest general aviation airport in the country, with almost 30,000 aero club and private take offs and landings in 2022, and the new general aviation hub is said to support that flying community.
Cllr Gillian Campbell, chair of the board at Blackpool Airport Operations, said: “This is a major step forward for our historic airport. For over 100 years Blackpool Airport has been a huge part of our local area and economy.
“It is a mammoth task to redevelop it while also keeping it open for our customers, but we will make it work.
“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.
“The future for Blackpool Airport is exciting and we are moving in the right direction to becoming a leading transport hub with potential to grow.”
The development is part of the third phase of Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, and once the new hangars are occupied, 10 hectares of land around the north of Blackpool Airport can be unlocked for a new digital and technology quarter called Silicon Sands.
Silicon Sands will include a series of data centres and commercial business units, powered using sustainable energy and benefiting from a district heat network for the surrounding units.
Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Levelling Up (Place), at Blackpool Council, said: “We’re working hard to make sure that we can support an airport that is commercially successful and a leading transport hub.
“To make that happen, we must invest, but we also must make sure that the airport land uses its full potential. That means new hangars closer to the runway, and using the unlocked land to create more commercial business units which in turn create new jobs that local people will benefit from for years to come.
“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.”
Detailed planning permission is being sought for the new access roads and outline planning permission is being sought for the associated hangars.
If approved, the hangar plots will be available for developers and occupiers to build over several years on a phased basis with enabling work to build the new access roads starting in the next six months.
Lead architectural consultants Cassidy + Ashton and engineering consultants WSP have supported Blackpool Council on the masterplan for the airport.
Support to build the new access roads to the hangars, as well as the new link road, has been provided through a £7.5 million grant from HM Government Town Fund.
Blackpool Airport is already a thriving hub for business, medevac and general aviation and offers aircraft handling, parking, engineering and refuelling services, flight and instrument training as well as having facilities for executive lounges and crew briefing.
Over 37,000 flights took off and landed at Blackpool Airport in 2022.