Training commercial jet and helicopter pilots and harnessing fast internet links are set to be two key drivers of investment at Blackpool Airport.
An undersea fibre optic communications cable linking New York to Blackpool is now fully operational with a base station at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.
Technology company Aquacomms has laid the optic telecoms cable between Dublin and Blackpool, with a spur to the Isle of Man.
A report to the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Prosperity Board says there are currently seven inquiries to bring data centres to the Enterprise Zone as a result of the improved connectivity.
Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone
It adds: “The most advanced is for a 10-15,000 sq ft facility with proposals being progressed to locate this at the airport.
“The news that a national cyber security facility will be located at Samlesbury EZ, will provide a further boost to the Fylde Coast’s credentials as a major player in this very significant sector which will drive much future investment.
“The intention is to promote Blackpool EZ as the leader in ‘greening the data sector’ and this will become one of our key marketing mantras, and efforts are now being made to assess the feasibility of bringing a power connection from Walney Island wind farm ashore at the EZ, to compliment further the proposals for on site solar PV generation at the airport.”
Consultants Horizon Energy have been appointed to develop a feasibility study for a solar farm to be located on the south side of the airport.
Meanwhile talks are continuing on plans to create a training base at the airport for commercial pilots, with capacity for up to 20 pilots per year initially, rising to 100.
Discussions are also “ongoing for provision of specialist helicopter pilot and engineering training facilities, with the airport looking to capitalise on opportunities to become a major centre for aviation industry training.”