UK airport part-owned by Irish company shuts down

Coventry Airport, which is part-owned by Cork company Howard Holdings, officially today before its owners face a winding-up petition in the British High Court.

It is understood 70 jobs will go at the West Midlands airport, which has only handled cargo since the last scheduled passenger flights were stopped 13 months ago.

Tomorrow, its owners will face a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs in the High Court.

Sources at the airport said they were not surprised by the closure.

Rob Davies, from HD Air, said he moved the company’s business to Birmingham at the beginning of November.

He said: “We moved because we got a better deal and we were more comfortable with the management at Birmingham.”

The airport has not been used for scheduled passenger flights since airline Thomsonfly ceased operations in November 2008.

Since then, Coventry has been operating as a cargo terminal and a base for executive jets and aviation-related businesses.

The Civil Aviation Authority said the airport’s owner, West Midlands Airport Ltd, had today issued a Notice to Airmen informing them of the closure.

It effectively informed pilots and aircraft that the airport was no longer operational.

Ken Taylor, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “This is a real blow to Coventry and I am very disappointed to hear this news. I believe that a city like ours should have its own airport.

“We remain committed to the long-term future of the site as an airport and we will be doing all that we can to support the attempts to secure new ownership and on-going commercial management.

“We understand that the airport will remain closed until at least the outcome of the winding up order tomorrow.”

Opened in 1936, the airport was used as an RAF base during the Second World War and was damaged by enemy bombing.

Owners of the airport included Coventry City Council and Thomson Holidays’ parent company Tui, which took over in 2004 under the Thomsonfly brand.

The airport’s owners are Convergence International Airports Organisation, based in Reigate, Surrey, and Howard Holdings.

John Bates, of the Coventry Aeroplane Club, which used the airport, said: “There have been a series of meetings going on all morning involving the owners, the Civil Aviation Authority and others.

“From what I can understand, the company running the airport has gone into administration and that flying has been suspended.”

A spokeswoman for Coventry Airport issued a short statement. She said: “The board and shareholders of West Midlands International Airport Limited have made the decision to close Coventry Airport with immediate effect.”

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