Page last updated at 19:47 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Airport dogged by legal wrangles

Thomsonfly jet
Thomsonfly launched budget flights at the airport in March 2004

A new budget airline based at Coventry Airport took off for the first time on 31 March 2004.

Low-cost outfit Thomsonfly, which intended to begin flying to 11 European locations, launched its first services to Jersey, Malaga, Rome, Valencia and Venice.

But in the months and years that have followed, planning and legal wrangles have dominated the headlines relating to Coventry Airport.

In the greatest blow to the airport's fortunes, Thomsonfly halted its operations from the airport in November 2008 and now the airport has been closed indefinitely.

It was bought in February 2004 by travel group TUI, which later sold it to American firm CAFCO.

Pollution issues

But Warwick District Council received more than 2,500 letters objecting to a proposed expansion of the airport, which said the actual number of complaints was small, as individuals had sent up to 10 letters each.

About 400 people crowded into Leamington Town Hall in September of that year to listen to a debate on a planning application which went on for almost seven hours.

Plans for a permanent new passenger terminal building at the airport were turned down by the council - traffic, noise and pollution issues were given as reasons for the refusal.

But in September 2005 the council changed its stance over plans for a new passenger terminal, just days after vowing to oppose it.

Meanwhile in April of the following year, it emerged a temporary passenger terminal would not have to be knocked down.

Coventry Airport
Residents repeatedly opposed the airport's plans for expansion

The council had decided the building breached guidelines because it had been created without planning consent.

But the then deputy prime minister, John Prescott, ruled that the building could stay.

In June 2007 the airport's plan to build a new terminal, capable of handling up to two million passengers per year, was turned down by the government.

A public inquiry held into the airport's plans found there would be an adverse impact in terms of noise and in October 2008 the airport lost a High Court appeal.

Then, later in that month, Thomsonfly said it was halting its operations from the airport from November 2008.

Cargo terminal

The airline said the increased focus on charter holiday flights, rather than on scheduled ones such as those operating from Coventry, had led to the decision.

The airport said that it regretted but understood the airline's decision.

Thomsonfly's last scheduled service arrived in the city from Malaga in Spain on 9 November last year and the airport has not been used for scheduled passenger flights since.

It has since been operating as a cargo terminal and a base for executive jets and aviation-related businesses.

Plans for a new terminal were dropped in February this year and by May it emerged the airport had been put up for sale.

Now it has been announced the airport has been closed indefinitely due to financial difficulties.

The owners had been due to appear in the High Court on Wednesday to respond to a winding-up petition.



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SEE ALSO
Coventry Airport closed by owners
08 Dec 09 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Airport facing wind-up petition
01 Dec 09 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Potential buyer found for airport
26 Sep 09 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Coventry Airport put up for sale
07 May 09 |  Coventry/Warwickshire

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