The High Court has backed Jet2.com in a dispute with Blackpool Airport over an alleged breach of contract.
The issue centred on the airport refusing two flights carrying 300 passengers to land last October which were then forced to divert late in the evening to Manchester.
After a six day hearing, the court in London ruled yesterday that the airport’s ‘sudden and unilateral’ decision to refuse to honour Jet2.com’s flights was “a serious breach of contract”.
His Honour Judge Mackie QC said that “it cannot be intended that BAL [Blackpool Airport Limited] should be able to pick and choose what to do in light of what suits it or [majority shareholder] Balfour Beatty financially”.
He ruled that the airport must honour a contract clause to promote the airline’s low cost services, saying: “Low cost is of defining importance”. Jet2.com has been flying from the airport since 2005, carrying one million passengers.
Witnesses included Jet2.com chief executive Philip Meeson and managing director Ian Doubtfire, Blackpool Airport director Paul Rankin and employees of the airport’s 95% shareholder, a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty.
The move paved the way for the carrier, which has 70 staff at Blackpool, to put flights from Blackpool on sale for summer 2012, including a new year-round service to Tenerife plus Alicante, Faro, Malaga, Majorca and Murcia. Jersey and Belfast flights go on sale later this week.
Meeson said: “We are delighted that our commitment to Blackpool and our dedication to maintaining friendly low fares have been recognised by the court. We look forward to a secure future of serving our customers from Blackpool International Airport.”
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