Coronavirus: Liverpool John Lennon Airport given £34m loan

Liverpool John Lennon Airport Image copyright Richard Hoare/Geograph
Image caption An authority spokesman said the airport was a "vital strategic infrastructure asset"

Liverpool City Region has agreed to loan £34m to the area's airport to "provide stability during the Covid-19 recovery period", the mayor has said.

The financial package for Liverpool John Lennon Airport was approved by the combined authority amid a downturn in foreign travel.

Regional mayor Steve Rotheram said the funding had been offered because "international connectivity is essential for the local economy".

The airport has been asked to comment.

The aviation industry has been hit by a decline in passengers due to travel restrictions and suffered an additional blow on Tuesday with the introduction of a 14-day quarantine period for all passengers returning from Spain.

Services from Liverpool fly to a number of popular Spanish destinations, including Alicante and Malaga.

A spokesman for the authority said the airport was a "vital strategic infrastructure asset" for the region, supporting an estimated 6,000 local jobs and providing £250m annually in economic impact.

"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," Mr Rotheram said.

The authority also agreed to commit £17m to the Littlewoods Studios regeneration project, which aims to transform the iconic building on Edge Lane into the new home for the big and small screen.

The funding will partly be used to fund temporary "pop-up" studios on land next to the building, which would open by the end of 2020, the spokesman said.

The head of Liverpool Film Office, Lynn Saunders, welcomed the commitment and said the city needed "permanent sound studios to fully maximise the potential of our region's film and TV sector".

"We know the demand is there and once operational, [the pop-up studios] will support the ongoing development of Littlewoods, providing new job opportunities in a hugely exciting and growing industry," she added.

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