Air link between Cornwall and London secured in new deal

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Photo: Brad Simpson c/o Teeside Airport Movements

Cornwall’s primary air link with London will resume on December 15 with Eastern Airways operating daily services between Cornwall Airport Newquay and London Gatwick.  

The service will operate under a four-year Public Service Obligation (PSO), which will ensure the route is maintained year-round and Cornwall remains connected to a major airport hub which is vital to our economy.  Under the Public Service Obligation, Cornwall Council and the Department for Transport will provide financial support if required, to ensure the service is maintained. The need to support the route will be reviewed after two years to assess whether the PSO for the London service is still required. 

Eastern Airways will operate a daily return flight until January, when the service will increase to two daily return flights. During the busy summer season in July and August there will be three daily return flights.  The service will use the latest generation of turbo-prop aircraft which are quieter, more fuel efficient and produce less emissions than jet aircraft. 

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Philip Desmonde, said: “It is vital for our residents and business community that direct flights between Newquay and London are maintained and I welcome the news that Eastern Airways will operate our key route. This PSO service not only protects Cornwall’s links with London, contributes to the Government’s levelling up agenda for Cornwall and offers opportunities for investments in the local economy, it also ensures connectivity for business and residents as an alternative to a 5 hour plus journey by road for those who need it.” 

“While connectivity is vital, we must seek to minimise the impact of air travel on the environment.  The Council has worked with all parties to ensure that the environmental impact of the air route is kept to a minimum by selecting aircraft which have lower emissions and lower noise impacts, as well as aligning schedules to ensure capacity meets demand.” 

“The Council is fully supportive of the Department for Transport’s commitment to decarbonise transport by 2050 and will be working with the DfT to ensure that Cornwall Airport Newquay plays its full role in achieving this.” 

Steve Double MP for St Austell and Newquay said: “I am delighted to have worked with Cornwall Council and the Department for Transport to help secure this vital route to keep Cornwall connected to London and beyond. Having made the case personally to ministers in the Department for Transport I am very grateful for the additional funding the government have made available for this route that is crucial to the future of our airport.” 

“This PSO route shows that both the Government and Cornwall Council recognise the importance of maintaining an air route between London and Cornwall, for visitors and business travel alike, and I am pleased to see them take action to secure it for the future, while also taking steps to practicably minimise the impact of air travel on our environment.” 

Tim Jeans, Interim Director at Cornwall Airport Newquay said: “We’re delighted to have secured Eastern Airways to operate this new service to London Gatwick, the London Airport of choice for many of our passengers.  The London route forms the cornerstone of our recovery strategy at Cornwall Airport Newquay and we very much look forward to working with the team at Eastern Airways to rebuild the historically strong demand on the route and make the service a success.  We now have 10 airlines who will be operating routes out of Newquay in 2022 to a variety of destinations as the airport starts to play a key role again in keeping Cornwall connected. 

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The business community will welcome the return of Newquay’s air links to London with the enhanced connectivity that provides, and the year-round guarantee under the PSO. The route also helps underpin Cornwall Airport Newquay’s vital economic role, which is becoming increasingly important as we develop our space and aerospace sector, and with it our supply chain and high value jobs.” 

Story posted 22 November 2021

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