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New hope for threatened Cornwall to London Gatwick air link

By CG_Caroline  |  Posted: December 02, 2013

New hope for Cornwall's threatened air link

Comments (18)

Cornwall’s threatened only air link to London will continue, it has been announced.

FlyBe is expected to announce today that it will keep the Newquay to London Gatwick route, which was due to be axed in March, running until October 25 next year.

The move will give Cornwall Council, who owns Newquay Cornwall airport, more time to gain public funding to secure the route’s uncertain future.

In October, following discussions with Cornwall Council, the Department of Transport confirmed that route was technically eligible for a subsidy.

However, the complex process is not likely to be completed until autumn 2014, which would have meant the brakes would been slammed on the route.

Flybe’s expected announcement will provide the time to secure an operator, supported by the government, to run the route for a four-year period.

The announcement has been welcomed by Cornwall Council, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Cornwall’s six MPs, who have been working together over the past few months to secure the long term future of the vital air link.

Adam Paynter, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Partnerships, said: “This is very good news for Cornwall.

“The air link between Newquay and London is vital for the economy of Cornwall and I am delighted that Flybe has decided to continue to operate the service next summer.

“I would like to formally thank the LEP and our MP’s for their support in exploring ways of maintaining this link and look forward to continuing to work with them and the Government over securing the route in the longer term”.

Chris Pomfret, the chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The provision of a regular year round service to a London hub airport with a schedule that works for businesses is vital to the economy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

“I know that many businesses were very concerned about the impact of a break in the service over the summer and I am sure they will join me in welcoming Flybe’s decision.

“However, we must ensure this is the first step in delivering a long term secure daily all year round service that is so essential if Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are to improve economically.“

Newquay and St Austell MP Stephen Gilbert said: “I know I speak on behalf of all the Cornish MPs in welcoming this news and will be working with them over the coming months to make the case to Government for further support to ensure this important air service is safeguarded for the next four years.”

Flybe revealed in May that it was selling its Gatwick landing slots to rival easyJet, which recently announced its intention not to take over the service when it is scrapped at the end of March 2014.

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  • travelgenie14  |  April 14 2014, 5:36PM

    Don't get me wrong good luck to Cornwall and anyone living or holidaying there including the Prime Minister. What gets me is that Cornwall gets handed everything on a plate by this government but Plymouth similarly disadvantaged by transport links is repeatedly ignored as if it wasn't there. That's why the whole thing sinks to me. http://tinyurl.com/pcv2lzf

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  • hstmtu4000  |  December 04 2013, 9:46PM

    Thinking about it if Flybe transferred the Exeter/Newcastle route a few miles down the A30 to Newquay they could probably get it subsidized like everything else in so called "remote" Cornwall or is that where they are getting the plane from to keep the hugely loss making Newquay/Gatwick service going beyond next March.

  • FromMendip  |  December 04 2013, 8:04PM

    Exeter Airport will lose its Newcastle route from next March and the summer-only Barcelona and Nice routes won't operate next year in a host of Flybe route closures around the country announced today by the airline.

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  • DipStick  |  December 02 2013, 8:53PM

    @Doitdreckley: " ... would you expect a referendum on every issue? ...". On something as important as the annual budget, which is something WE contribute in it's entirety, then yes. Put the annual budget to the vote! If they don't control the money they don't control us, the people get back in charge. Unlike the false democracy we have at the momnent where we vote in a multi-year beauty contest for the one's that seem most plausible on the doorstep but who you know are lying their teeth off! DS

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  • hstmtu4000  |  December 02 2013, 6:11PM

    Most of Cornwall is little more isolated than Plymouth really in the big picture of things. If you drive up the A30 dual carriageway towards Exeter past BODMIN you cant help notice a huge illuminated dot matrix road sign which proudly proclaims "A30 Exeter 60 miles 60 minutes". That's little different from Plymouth to Exeter up the A38 so surely if the government regards air links as essential to the Cornish economy then surely Plymouth airport deserves similar government support! Its all political hypocrisy to me, especially when you consider the uphill battle Plymouth is having with this coalition government trying to improve its poor rail links and restore its non existent air-links. The political and demographic truth is that in the last 30 odd years Cornwall has become a popular place to live for many affluent and influential people from the home counties and elsewhere who want the "doc Martin" life style but with a fast air link to London so they can have the best of both worlds even if it is financially unviable. Politically most of those who move to Cornwall are by definition natural coalition government voters, a few politically "well connected" as well, which Cornwalls coalition MPs and therefore Westminster have to be appease. And of course its absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Prime Minister David Cameron who holidays in Cornwall even has a daughter who was born at Treliske hospital at Truro while on holiday in 2010 and whose middle name is "Endellion", named after the Cornish village of "Endellion" in North Cornwall a stone throw from Newquay airport where the Camerons stayed. Say no more. http://tinyurl.com/2vlzzko Don't get me wrong good luck to Cornwall and anyone living or holidaying there including the Prime Minister. What gets me is that Cornwall gets handed everything on a plate by this government but Plymouth similarly disadvantaged by transport links is repeatedly ignored as if it wasn't there. That's why the whole thing sinks to me.

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  • Doitdreckley  |  December 02 2013, 4:58PM

    Josdave, would you expect a referendum on every issue?

  • josdave  |  December 02 2013, 3:53PM

    Who gave the council a mandate to use public money to subsidise private enterprises like Eden and the airport? Not me for one.

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  • Doitdreckley  |  December 02 2013, 3:48PM

    There are an awful lot of businesses in Cornwall which are literally run by one or two people. They need a fast reliable service to get them, their goods and services to other parts of the UK and Europe. The rail service is not great and driving can be tiring and problematic, especially before hitting the M5. These are businesses with low profits and high margins. They cannot pay for an airport - a ridiculous suggestion - and the Council is having its pips squeaked by the Conservative/Liberal Government who give 50% less funding to regions like Cornwall compared to urban areas anyway. The ONLY way that Cornwall has a future is to use every method at its disposal to generate and create wealth through quick travel. Services inevitably cost more because people rock up in Cornwall expecting a home, care for granny and a school place for little Jonny without any sense of the additional pressure that they are causing.

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  • wringer  |  December 02 2013, 3:47PM

    If newquay airport were a viable business in your business world hello-world then it wouldn't need a £3,000,000 subsidy from me and every other council tax payer in Cornwall would it. we are not cut off from the rest of the business world just because we don't have an airport. that is total rubbish. the airport will continue to be a massive net drain on our resources. if its such a vital link then why is it so poorly used and why are numbers falling. if its such a vital link why isn't it at least washing its face financially. if its such a vital link then why aren't private companies falling over themselves to take it on and make it profitable. why? because it will never make a profit. its a vanity project. £3,000,000 each and every year would help an awful lot of viable businesses start up in the county and an awful lot of people back into work.

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  • DipStick  |  December 02 2013, 3:36PM

    @wringer: ".. one from the pot that everyone puts into and one from a pot just for cornwall. to me, that makes a big difference. ... ". Geez, are you just playing dumb or are you really that stupid? It doesn't matter which government "pot" money comes from, be they local or central, because it all comes from US!!!! They "tax" us and then "they" distribute the money as "they" see fit. Which "pot" matter not as we are all being sh4fted! DS

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