Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 11:42 UK

Construction firm to buy airport

Blackpool International Airport
The council said the firm has plans to expand the site

Construction group Balfour Beatty has agreed to buy Blackpool International Airport for 14m.

The group's Regional and City Airports arm is acquiring a 95% stake in the Lancashire seaside airport.

Balfour will add Blackpool airport to its existing portfolio, which already includes Exeter International Airport, bought for 60m last January.

Blackpool Borough Council will remain a minority shareholder following the deal, with a 5% stake.

It is expected to give its formal approval of the deal by Friday and said the sale was "absolutely great news" for Blackpool.

Councillor Peter Callow, leader of Blackpool Council, said the move should mean growth for the area and more jobs for local people.

Balfour Beatty is buying Blackpool airport from MAR Properties, a Northern Ireland-based property developer, which bought it as part of a joint venture in 2004.

Airlines including low cost carriers Ryanair and fly from the airport, situated a mile south of the town centre.

The airport is forecast to handle about half a million passengers this year, but has capacity for two million passengers after a 2m refurbishment programme in February 2006 to update the terminal and car parking facilities.

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