Once upon a time we, the citizens of West Yorkshire, owned our own aerodrome and airport at Yeadon. Held on our behalf, by the local authorities, the airport allowed Yorkshire folk to enjoy trips and packages to the Costa brava, Costa blanca and Costa del sol. We also had the opportunity to see Concord when it visited our airport and watch other flights from the Billings.
Bargains were added by operators like Ryan Air and Jet 2 and we were well served for holidays despite the loss of connecting flights to Heathrow.
Then the wizards of privatisation and the jelly fish running the local authorities sold out for a mess of potage.
The airport was bought in May 2007 by a private equity company Bridgepoint Capital.
Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees councils pocketed £145.5 million on the deal (bonuses all round?).
Then as our money was burning a hole in the profligate authorities pockets, several capital schemes chewed up much of the cash with the odd white elephant to show for our troubles.
So what has Private Equity done for West Yorkshire
- Park your car for over an hour and it will cost you £10.
- You are not allowed to stop to collect or drop off passengers. You must use one of the car parks and that nearest the terminal will cost a minimum of £2. Even visiting taxis must pay this hidden tax and surcharge for daring to visit Yeadon airport.
- Number plate recognition software is used to track and trace you Big brother Bridgepoint can cause big bother.
- The corporate taxi mafia seems to run the on site taxi operation. Drivers can accept fare paying passengers you must go to the bolshy hut and prepay.
- Other taxi companies are treated like2nd class outfits and have to drop or collect you further into the car park than the resident favoured compaany.
- Do you take luggage on holiday? Well then be prepared for the cost of a trolley. LBA is not a £1 in the slot, returned like supermarket trolleys but a pound spent and lost just for needing help with your luggage. Another money making scam for the airport operator and their backers.
Alternative Airport Options
Fasten your financial seatbelt or get away from it all at Robin Hood airport instead of using Yeadon.
Robbing the poor to feed the profits of the rich has been what the West Riding have had to suffer and you can expect that to continue unless you vote with your holiday package.
I hesitate to recommend Humberside airport as that is based just in Lincolnshire and is owned by Manchester airport (and that is in Lancashire)!