BLACKPOOL AIRPORT SET TO CLOSE

Blackpool International Airport

Blackpool International Airport

JET2 ‘SURPRISED’ BY SHOCK BLACKPOOL AIRPORT NEWS Ex-pats face uncertainty

THOUSANDS of ex-pats could be faced to find alternative flights to Spain from Blackpool following the shock news that the international Airport could shut this month (October). “On August 28 2014, we announced our intention to find a buyer for the airport operating company,” said owners Balfour Beatty. “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,” said Balfour Beatty. “We regretfully confirm that if no agreement can be reached before October 7 2014, which ensures the viability of its operations, then it is likely that the airport operations will close,” said Balfour Beatty. “In this event, we expect that the last commercial flights will take place on Wednesday October 15 2014,” said Balfour Beatty.

Ex-pats who board flights to Spain from Blackpool have been left reeling with the news. Balfour Beatty are looking for a buyer to take over the operating interests in the terminal, purchased for £14m in 2008.

“We apologise for the uncertainty this will cause over the coming weeks and we recommend that any affected passengers contact their airline to confirm travel arrangements,” added Balfour Beatty Three airlines fly out of the terminal at Blackpool, and worried passengers who may be currently in Spain, or those set to fly from Blackpool can contact them.

Details can be obtained from: Jet2.com (0333 300 0042), Stobart Air (0871 718 5000) and Citywing (0871 200 0440). In 2007 it went under new management with MAR Properties Ltd agreeing terms to take over full control of Blackpool Airport. In May 2008 Balfour Beatty purchased MAR Property’s 95% stake in the airport, with the remaining 5% stake held by Blackpool Borough Council. Passenger numbers peaked in 2007, with over 550,000 passing through the airport, falling to 235,238 in 2012; increasing by 11.6% to 262,630 in

2013 – Blackpool being the 32nd busiest airport in the UK. Since 2011 the airport has undergone changes on the airfield runways. In 2012 Blackpool launched a twice-weekly service to Albert – Picardie Airport, with Danish Air Transport. However, the flights were cancelled before the route was officially opened. In 2012, Jet2.com announced flights from Blackpool to Dalaman, Ibiza and Lanzarote, from 2013.

Jersey was replaced by Ibiza for the 2013 season. Ryanair discontinued their services from Blackpool in January 2009. And in 2013 it was announced that Jet2 would be cancelling their Belfast flight from Blackpool, because of continuous falling passenger figures.

Citywing became the only airline operating a daily flight to Belfast, via the Isle of Man. In 2013 passenger figures rose with 262,630 passengers using the facility. In 2014 Jet2 announced a new Spanish destination from Blackpool Airport to Reus, in eastern Spain, and also re-added Menorca to Blackpool flight schedules. In August 2014, Balfour Beatty announced that it was putting Blackpool Airport up for sale, six years after the company bought a 95% stake in the airport for £14m.

Blackpool airport flight destinations include Belfast, Dublin; Channel Islands; Jersey; Isle of Man; Portugal, Algarve; Spain, Murcia, Alicante-Elche; Turkey, Dalaman. Blackpool International Airport is based on the Fylde coast of Lancashire, at the former Squires Gate Airport site.

Aviation began in 1909 at Blackpool Airport – one of the first aviation sites in the UK, owned and operated by City Hopper Airports Limited. Executive flights, helicopter operations serving offshore oil and gas facilities in the Irish Sea, and the North West Air Ambulance service operate from Blackpool Airport, along with companies offering flying lessons and training flights.

A spokesperson from Jet2 said: “The announcement has come as a surprise to us. It is our intention to continue operating flights as normal from Blackpool Airport. “Should the airport make the decision to close, contingency plans will be in place and we will do everything we can to support both our loyal Jet2.com and Jet2holidays staff and customers.”

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GAME IS UP FOR SUSPECTED DRUG TRAFFICKER

Knight, who is wanted connection with a conspiracy to import cocaine, was apprehended on a European Arrest Warrant.

 Knight, who is wanted connection with a conspiracy to import cocaine, was apprehended on a European Arrest Warrant.

A poker-playing fugitive was dealt a pair of handcuffs during a tournament at a bar in Valencia last week.

Robert Knight, aged 53, from Walsall, was tracked down as part of a joint operation involving the Spanish National Police, the National Crime Agency and West Midlands Police

Armed officers swooped as Knight was playing Texas Hold’em poker at Saffy’s sports bar in the port area of Calpe at 7pm Spanish time.

Knight, who is wanted connection with a conspiracy to import cocaine, was apprehended on a European Arrest Warrant. He is the 62nd fugitive to be caught out of 76 publicised through Operation Captura.

Hank Cole, Head of International Operations for the NCA, said: “Knight is believed to be a member of an organised crime group involved in the importation and distribution of illegal drugs.

“He had been on the run for a number of years but we were able to track him down. Spain is not a safe haven. The NCA and its partners will continue to pursue fugitives relentlessly.”

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, Founder and Chairman of Crimestoppers, said: “Robert Knight has been at large for six years and I am delighted that the collaborative work of the agencies involved in Operation Captura has once again brought success.

“This latest capture brings the arrest rate to 82 per cent, and with just 14 individuals still to be located, I am appealing to the public to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or 900 555 111 from Spain, with the information that will lead to them being caught. It will happen – it’s just a matter of time.”

West Midlands Police had been seeking Knight following the seizure of six kilos of cocaine at Heathrow Airport in April 2008. Five other men were arrested at the time and later jailed for their roles in the crime.

Inspector Dave Simpson, from WMP’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “I am delighted that Knight has been caught, it has been a long time coming.

“This just demonstrates that there is no hiding place for criminals and we will work with police forces from other countries along with the National Crime Agency to seek them out.”

Knight will be appearing at the Spanish National Court in Madrid on Sunday where extradition proceedings will begin.

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LANCASHIRE TOREADOR GEORGE FORMBY – AKA DON PEDRO

Andrew Atkinson outside George Formby

Andrew Atkinson outside George Formby's former home in Lytham

LANCASHIRE Toreador George Formby’s final days with fiancee Pat Howson are to be revealed in a book by Alicante based author Andrew Atkinson. Formby – named bull-fighting hero Don Pedro in the song Lancashire Toreador – died 53 years ago, leaving £2.24m in his Will.

“It’s ironic that 45 years after passing Formby’s Georgian Mansion House in Lea, Preston, on my weekly fishing outings, that I’m penning this book,” said Andrew. Andrew, 57, lives in both Los Montesinos, Alicante, and Penwortham, Preston – where Formby suffered a heart attack while dining at the Howson family home in 1961. “The story is right on my door-step!,” said Preston born Lancastrian Andrew.

Ukelele legend Formby died, aged 56, in March 1961 – three months after his wife Beryl’s death. “Eight days into their engagement George Formby and Pat Howson dined by candle light.

However Formby complained of stomach pains – and was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Preston. “During Pat’s visit on March 6 1961, she spoke to George, while sat at his bedside, about their forthcoming wedding plans,” said Andrew.

Hours later George Formby died – of a massive heart attack. Their wedding day was set for March 1961 – and a honeymoon cruise to the West Indies was booked: “Pat’s dad Fred Howson was a personal friend of Formby, whom he sold cars to. “Fred would never have imagined that his daughter was set to marry him,” said Andrew. In his Will George Formby left Pat Howson £135,000 – value £2.24m today

- that was contested by his mother Eliza, and two sisters. Formby’s mum had labelled Pat a ‘floosie’ – a woman of no morals and a prostitute tag. Pat Howson died of cancer, aged 46, in 1971.

The Lancashire Toreador (1937)

I’ve been to Spain but never again, I couldn’t go there twice ‘Cos my name’s John Willie but they said it sounded silly And they wouldn’t call me that at any price. They soon made me change my name and a real proper Spaniard

became:

Don Pedro, the big bull-fighting hero, The Lancashire Toreador. They cheer me and when the bull gets near me To show how far a brave man can go with the bull I danced the Tango. Then when I hung on his tail my pants he tried to gore. I went dashing round the ring with him giving chase, Three times he tossed me in the air, I looked a disgrace. They shouted, ‘Look at all that skin and bone round the place, It’s The Lancashire Toreador.’

Don Pedro, the big bull-fighting hero, The Lancashire Toreador.

I met-a charming senor-eta She said, ‘To love you I can never’, then kissed me good-bye for ever. That night, as she retired, she locked her bedroom door. She started to undress and timidly she looked round, Said, ‘Thank God, I am rid of him for he’s homeward bound’, But when she pulled the bed clothes down now guess what she found? Why The Lancashire Toreador.

Don Pedro, the big bull-fighting hero, The Lancashire Toreador. I scare ‘em, no mercy ever spare ‘em. In the dead of night I ramble, Spanish castle walls I scramble. I saw a shadow above a girl in her boudoir. I climbed up her balcony, it started to sway. She shouted, ‘Murder! there’s a bandit, spare my life, pray’. But when my castanets I rattled she said, ‘Hooray! It’s The Lancashire Toreador’

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book email the author Andrew Atkinson for further details at: lancashiremedia@talktalk.net

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SAN FULGENCIO NOTES

On Saturday the 4th of October there is a wonderful event that forms part of the San Fulgencio Virgen del Remedio fiestas. This event is the float parade, an amazing, colourful event that is well worth enjoying.
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Los Verdes se interesan por la denuncia de la Asociación de Discotecas

Los Concejales del Grupo Municipal de Los Verdes han pedido información al Alcalde de Torrevieja para que les informe sobre las denuncias que de forma reiterada viene tramitando la Asociación Provincial de Discotecas como consecuencia del funcionamiento presuntamente irregular de algunos de los establecimientos que operan en el término municipal de Torrevieja, requiriendo que se… Continuar→

A TIME FOR PREPARATION

Jeffrey Wiszniewski (right) with the former British Ambassador to Spain

Summer is just about over and many of us are reluctantly turning our attentions to the Christmas Period. But what does it mean for those in Local Government? For P.I.P.N. and the other Political Parties, this is a time for preparation, for the Municipa…

GETTING ANSWERS IN SPAIN

Have you heard about this really useful lunch seminar that takes place regularly here in Costa Blanca? In the last couple of months experts from four local companies have answered over 600 questions from the people who have attended. I think this is fa…

BRAVO FOR THE SOLIDARITY SPOT ‘LOVE IS CONTAGIOUS’

This is a video that has gone around the world. It is promoted by Krizovatka, a Czech organization that seeks to change the world through awareness campaigns of solidarity values.

The video does not need words, because it aspires to be universal, and the words differ from one country to another. So it uses two languages which are universals: the image and the music, says Professor Alfonso Méndiz.

The image is certainly the most attractive. What we see is not a story: it is a chain of stories linked by a great theme: Love. The final slogan reminds us, “láskou a sluzbou cesty spojujeme” (With love and service, we join paths). Indeed, love is contagious: it is a medicine that cures everything, everything heals, quickens everything; and at the same time, is a virus that is spread between humans: we would pass on to each other every day.

It all starts with the goodness of a child. A small, introverted and colored boy who realizes he can help another just lending a hand. His action is seen by another person, who are encouraged to give to another what he has experienced. And so begins a chain of services that seems endless.

The other language without borders is music. The lyrics of the song created by ‘Noah and the Whale’ highlighted with extraordinary force these inspiring images: “If you give a little love, you receive love for you.” It is an invitation to solidarity: “Give a little love, and see what happens”.

Sometimes it is enough a small gesture, such as reaching out. Just a small action that initiates an unexpected chain. And then the miracle is operated. Love makes possible the miracle of life becoming wonderful.

Selfish love is our worst enemy. Napoleon said: “The most dangerous of our counselors is self-love”.

clementeferrer3@gmail.com Author and journalist Clemente Ferrer has led a distinguished career in Spain in the fields of advertising and public relations. He is currently President of the European Institute of Marketing.

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