THE Peel Group has taken over the running of Liverpool John Lennon Airport  after buying out its former owners.

Peel previously held a 35 per cent stake after selling a 65 per cent share to Vantage Airport Group. The change of ownership is effect immediately.

Matthew Thomas, chief executive of JLA, said: "The airport is a key project in Peel’s Ocean Gateway programme, which will see £50bn of investment in the North West.

"As part of one of the region’s largest and most successful organisations, the airport now enters an exciting period in its development as we work with partners across the city region to grow services and passenger numbers."

In a statement Peel said that by investing in JLA, the business can be "taken to the next level", attracting new airlines and new services by capitalising on the "excellent operational and commercial performance".

In January, it was revealed that the airport's pre-tax losses had increased to more than £7m.

Four million passengers used the airport last year.