Liverpool City Region Combined Authority approved the loan to Liverpool John Lennon Airport on Friday as it looks to protect it from the severe impact of the coronavirus crisis. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) has secured a £34m loan from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as it battles with the severe impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Headed by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, the Combined Authority approved the loan on Friday. It said it wanted to provide “stability” for the airport during a turbulent period. The repayment terms of the loan were not revealed.
The aviation sector has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic with lockdowns grounding aircraft across Europe. Between March and May LJLA’s two biggest carriers – easyJet and Ryanair – both saw their operations come to a halt.
Both carriers, along with other airline, are slow resuming flights from the airports with dozens of routes now back in operation. However, fears of new outbreaks in Europe, particularly in Spain, could see further disruption for months to come.
The Combined Authority said the airport had suffered a “material adverse effect” on its business. LJLA supports an estimated 6,000 local jobs, providing £250m every year in GVA value.
Mr Rotheram said: “International connectivity is essential for the local economy and the roles of international gateways such as ports, airports and cruise terminals as economic hubs and drivers for local economies and tourism need to be maximised.
“That is why it is right that today we have agreed this loan facility to provide stability for the airport, its passengers and other users during the Covid-19 recovery period.”
In September 2019, the airport’s biggest shareholder Peel Group, and Liverpool City Council, sold a combined 45% stake in the airport to infrastructure investment manager Ancala Partners.
The deal saw London-based Ancala buy a 35% stake in the airport from Peel and 10% from the council. Peel and the council retained 45% and 10% interests respectively. The value of the transaction was not revealed but Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson told the full council that the city made £19m from the sale – a big profit on its original investment of £2m.