COVENTRY Airport, which is owned by Cork developers Howard Holdings, has been closed.
This news came just a day before the airport was due to come before the High Court following the lodging of a petition seeking for it to be wound up.
The move is expected to make 70 people redundant and other jobs in the region are also now at risk.
Howard Holdings and a partner paid a reported €15 million for Coventry Airport three years ago. It is believed close to €7m was then invested in infrastructural improvements.
The airport was put up for sale in May but no buyer was found.
The Cork development firm is undergoing a major restructuring process at the moment. In September, a number of the company’s key personnel announced that they would be leaving the firm.
One of Howard Holdings main projects has been the €1 billion Atlantic Quarter south docklands project in Cork.
Its managing director Jason Clerkin and development director Paul Hannon have moved from Howard Holdings to a new venture — Clowater Investments Ltd, set up along with former KPMG accountant Alan Morris.
Clowater Investments will specialise in asset and wealth management and the new venture will take on management of a number of Irish and British Howard Holdings assets, projects and investments.
Coventry Airport has not been used for scheduled passenger flights since airline Thomsonfly ceased operations in November last year.
Since then it has been operating as a cargo terminal and a base for executive jets and aviation-related businesses. Opened in 1936, the airport was used as an RAF base during WWII and was damaged by enemy bombing.
A spokeswoman for Coventry Airport said in a statement yesterday: “The board and shareholders of West Midlands International Airport Limited have made the decision to close Coventry Airport with immediate effect.”
Coventry North West MP Geoffrey Robinson said he was surprised by the news and had spoken to the owners and unions.
He said he would be discussing the development with the Department for Transport.
Councillor Ken Taylor, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “This is a real blow to Coventry and I am very disappointed to hear this news.”
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