Sir Peter Rigby predicts passenger flights from Coventry Airport in 2011
Business tycoon Sir Peter Rigby believes plans to resume passenger flights from Coventry Airport will take off next year.
The chairman of Patriot Aerospace has revealed he is targeting popular European destinations as part of his future plans for the Baginton base.
Locations including Paris, Prague, Poland and Portugal are high on his list as the airport’s new owner begins his search for suitable airlines.
He also plans to look at flights to terminal hubs in Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam – where travellers can fly to anywhere in the world.
Sir Peter said: “We have hired the appropriate marketing resources and we are out there actively now talking to airlines.
“Planning routes, getting the right sort of traffic in here is quite an exercise, against a background of an aviation industry which is having a tough time.
“But, at the end of the day, 20 per cent of people passing through airports live in Coventry. That is a large amount.”
The business tycoon revealed his future plans on Wednesday after the airport was granted its licence from the Civil Aviation Authority – making it fully operational.
Sir Peter added: “This constitutes the level of potential operation that we see for the airport, which is basically to take it back to where it was operationally at its peak.”
Coventry Airport has suffered a turbulent two years, which resulted in its closure in December after the previous owners West Midlands Airport Ltd were wound up at the High Court amid spiralling debt.
Troubles began when Thomsonfly pulled the plug on its low-cost flights to Europe in November 2008. The devastating blow came just one month after Wizz Air axed its flights from the city to Poland.
Patriot Aerospace took over as the new owners in April. Since then the business has created 30 new jobs as well as securing a further 400 jobs in tenant businesses.
Sir Peter said: “The thing that has registered with me in the last few months, because basically we have had to start from scratch again, was that people loved flying out of Coventry.
“I think people like this airport because they could park next to the terminal building and it took minutes to get through the check-in. It was a simple process.
“When you contrast that to other airports where it’s expensive and difficult to park and the whole experience of going through and getting onto a plane takes about two-and-a-half hours, it’s a hassle. It almost detracts from the pleasure of your experience.
“Realistically to get the type of travel options that we want, we are really looking at a 2011 programme, but if it happens before then great. We need support of local travel agents and we need the support of local people.
“When we do get to the point of offering the services we are talking about I do hope that the local community will support Coventry Airport.”