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News Archive > General > Airport´s Gatwick flights to continue

Airport´s Gatwick flights to continue

By Warren Wilkins 3rd October 2018

Airport´s Gatwick flights to continue

DIRECT flights between Cornwall Airport Newquay and London Gatwick have been secured for a further four years following a landmark agreement.

The Government has agreed to back the route once again through a Public Service Obligation (PSO), which are used to subsidise vital air connections and economic and social development in peripheral regions. Cornwall Council, which owns Newquay airport, has also pledged to provide funding for the service, which will be operated by modern jet aircraft rather than propeller planes.

The Flybe service will continue to see daily flights between Newquay and Gatwick, with three return flights on weekdays and two per day at weekends. The direct London service will continue to enable businesses in Cornwall to compete nationally and internationally, which will attract inward investment and boost tourism.

Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, announced the Government is renewing the PSO while speaking at the Conservative Party Conference on Monday.

The Government’s previous PSO for the Newquay and Gatwick flights ran out at the end of September, which raised concerns Cornwall’s economy would lose out on £50 million unless the agreement was renewed.

The previous route offered by Flybe has been a soaring success after demand almost doubled over three years.

The Gatwick flights now account for 40% of all passengers using Cornwall Airport Newquay. Around 160,000 passengers travelled on the route last year with visitors increasingly coming from Germany and the USA.

The PSO funding has additionally increased confidence in the airport, with other airlines operating new routes from Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.

Mr Grayling said: “I can announce our recommitment to Newquay. It is vital to the economy of the South West that the Government provides support to the crucial air links to London. I can tell you that we will be renewing that support for another four years, and with the jets our fantastic team of Cornish MPs have been calling for.”

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg added: “Cornwall Airport Newquay is an example of one of our thriving regional aviation hubs, playing a vital role in connecting communities, boosting tourism and unlocking economic growth. Continuing to support this key route between Cornwall and London demonstrates our commitment to creating transport links across the UK which put the needs of passengers first.”

Geoff Brown, Newquay Central Cornwall councillor and Cabinet portfolio holder for Transport, said: “This is a vital link between Cornwall and London which has to be maintained.  Thanks to the council’s continued investment in Cornwall Airport Newquay, growth continues with around 460,000 passengers using the airport in 2017, making it the best year ever and making it the fastest growing airport outside London.

“The announcement is really positive news for Cornwall. If this service was lost, £50 million could be wiped from Cornwall’s economy with the potential loss of airport and other jobs. We will have continuity of service with Flybe being confirmed as the operator. Once again securing the direct service is a boost for Cornwall’s communities, businesses and the economy. It will enable Cornwall to do business with the rest of the world – and the rest of the world to do business with Cornwall.

“The Newquay to London route could have gone to any London airport, including Southend, Stansted and Luton. We are delighted the Government agreed with us to maintain the route to Gatwick. It is superb news for everyone who travels up to London  and for businesses.”

Al Titterington, airport managing director, said: “The extension of the PSO contract with Flybe secures our primary connection between Cornwall and London for another four years. The demand for this route continues to grow year on year and the support from the Government and Cornwall Council provides a guarantee for this vital access route to and from Cornwall.”

Mark Duddridge, chairman of the Cornwall Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This announcement will be warmly welcomed by the business community and ensures that Cornwall remains connected to a major airport hub. Connectivity is vital to our economy and having a healthy commercial airport helps underpin our wider space and aerospace ambitions.

Newquay MP Steve Double said: “This is a great endorsement of Cornwall Airport Newquay and the transformative effect its continued growth and success has on Cornwall.

“I have worked long and hard to make the case for continuing the Government support for this vital route to Cornwall, meeting the with the Secretary of State and his ministerial team on numerous occasions at Cornwall Airport Newquay, and am pleased to see they have made the right decision for Cornwall.

“Along with this year’s announcement of the spaceport, and the confirmation that this PSO will include modern jet aircraft, this is all brilliant news for Newquay and Cornwall.
The Government’s decision to renew the PSO comes after Parliament’s backing earlier this year for building a third runway at Heathrow.

Cornwall Airport Newquay will be among the regions with the opportunity to get direct links to Heathrow with around 15% of the new runway capacity set to be used for domestic flights.

By Warren Wilkins 3rd October 2018

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