UK – Bond prepares for threatened closure of Blackpool base

UK – Bond prepares for threatened closure of Blackpool base

1-Oct-2014 Source: HeliHub.com

British operator Bond has been supporting gas rigs on the Irish Sea since at least 1978 when they took delivery of an initial pair of SA365C Dauphins.  In reality very little has changed over the years apart from a short term change of operator – Bond still fly Dauphins from Blackpool, but these days they are 365N3 models.

On Monday, Blackpool Airport owners Balfour Beatty issued a statement saying “On 28 August 2014, we announced our intention to find a buyer for the airport operating company.  The airport operations have been making a loss for a number of years and we are currently exploring a number of options in an attempt to secure the future of the airport.  We regretfully confirm that if no agreement can be reached before 7 October 2014 which ensures the viability of its operations, then it is likely that the airport operations will close.  In this event, we expect that the last commercial flights will take place on Wednesday 15 October 2014.

Susan Kendrick, Corporate Affairs Manager of the airport told us “We are currently exploring a number of options in an attempt to secure the future of the airport, this includes working closely with interested parties such as Bond Offshore Helicopters”, which adds nothing new to Monday’s statement

Meanwhile, Bond have confirmed to HeliHub.com that they are working with Blackpool airport and their  customers, to ensure continuity of services.  They also confirmed they are currently in discussions with a number of alternative airfields, although in reality that probably boils down to Liverpool, Liverpool and Liverpool (in that order).  Outside possibilities could include

  • Walney Island – difficult road access
  • Warton – military aircraft manufacturing facility owned by BAE Systems.  Seems unlikely but continues to be used as base for Lancashire Police helicopter, now part of NPAS
  • Woodvale – run by the military, and was used as base for Merseyside Police helicopter

Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com

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