HELICOPTER manufacturer and aviation training experts AgustaWestland has today announced plans for "significant expansion" at Newquay Airport.
The airport's boss and business leaders in the county have welcomed the news, which they say will create high level jobs and provide "immense value" to Cornwall's economy.
AgustaWestland has been able to move ahead with its expansion plans at Newquay's Enterprise Zone Aerohub thanks to a successful bid to the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
The move will allow it to develop its training programmes for air crew, pilots and engineers working with both civil and military helicopters.
The company's Operational Flight Training Centre (OFTC) was established at the airport in January 2010.
Al Titterington, the airport's managing director, said; "AgustaWestland is a key partner of the airport and we have been working vigorously with them over the last 12 months to expand their operations at the airport.
"Flight operations have increased significantly since 2010 and today's announcement further embeds our partnership and recognises Newquay Cornwall Airport as a key part of AgustaWestland's strategic objectives. This is a great boost for the airport."
News of AgustaWestland's expansion comes on the back of a flurry of activity at the Enterprise Zone Aerohub - a government scheme aimed at attracting industry heavyweights and creating 1,000 local jobs.
At the beginning of the month, boffins at the Bloodhound Project used the airport's facilities to successfully test a rocket that will hopefully power a supersonic car past the current land speed record.
It has also been announced that the Classic Aircraft Trust will be relocating its fleet of vintage planes to the Aerohub, where it will set up a state-of-the-art tourist attraction.
Chris Pomfret, Chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: "AgustaWestland is a global company and their commitment to expand in Cornwall illustrates the value of aerospace and underlines our Enterprise Zone vision, for creating an aerospace cluster at the Aerohub.
"The additional high value jobs which will be created, and the associated benefits, will be of immense value to the whole economy. The LEP's objective with Aerohub is all about creating well paid, skilled jobs - this announcement will certainly help our aspirations of achieving this."
Councillor Jim Currie, leader of Cornwall Council, added: "The council has supported investment in the development of the airport and is delighted at AgustaWestland's expansion of its business interests in Cornwall, which is not just positive for the airport but for Cornwall overall. A number of Cornish companiesbenefit from their presence at the airport and this will no doubt expand."