Blackpool Airport suspends banner flights

Ben Mee ‘ashamed’ after ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ flown over the Etihad

Blackpool Airport has suspended banner flights from its base after the message ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ was towed by an aeroplane over Etihad Stadium.

Lancashire Police is also investigating the banner, which was flown over the stadium during Manchester City’s 5-0 win over Burnley on Monday.

In a statement, manager Stephen Smith said the airport and Blackpool Council are “outraged by this incident”.

Burnley say they are “ashamed and embarrassed” by the banner.

Blackpool Airport says the incident was reported to police and the Civil Aviation Authority.

The statement added: “We stand against racism of any kind and absolutely do not condone the activity, the message was offensive and the action reprehensible. The decision to fly the banner was taken entirely by the banner flying company without the knowledge or approval of the airport or Blackpool Council.

“Due to the nature of the activity, banners are not checked before take-off and the content is at the operator’s discretion.

“Following an emergency review this morning, Blackpool Airport will suspend all banner towing operations at the airport with immediate effect and we would suggest that other airports should also consider this approach in light of what has happened at Blackpool.”

Chief superintendent Russ Procter said Lancashire Police are making enquiries “to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident” and will then be in a position to “make an assessment as to whether any criminal offences have taken place”.

He added: “We recognise that this banner will have caused offence to many people in Lancashire and beyond and we continue to liaise closely with our partners at both the club and in the local authority.”

More to follow.

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