27 October 2014
Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill and Adam Paynter, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Partnerships, have announced that Flybe has been awarded the contract to operate the air service between Newquay Cornwall Airport and London Gatwick for the next four years.
Flying into Newquay on Flybe’s early morning service from Gatwick to make the announcement, the Minister said that the airline would now be operating three daily return flights on weekdays all year round.
The new service, which formally began on 26 October, is supported by a Public Service Obligation which will see up to £2.8m of funding support provided by the Government over the next four years to safeguard the vital air link.
UK Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said: “Keeping our regions connected with London is a vital part of our long term economic plan. Fast, frequent flights to the South West will unlock access to stunning landscapes and skilled businesses, benefiting the region and the UK as a whole.”
The safeguarding of flights between Newquay and London Gatwick has been welcomed by Adam Paynter who said the authority had been working closely with the Department for Transport to secure the best possible deal for Cornwall.
“We know that the airport already provides a vital link for businesses, visitors and local residents who want a fast and reliable service to and from London” he said. “Businesses in Cornwall have told us that the additional lunchtime flight will make a big difference to them and I am delighted that we have been able to work with the Government and Flybe to enable this to happen.
“I would like to thank the Minister for taking the time to travel to Cornwall to make this announcement in person today. I would also like to pay tribute to the hard work and determination of all our partners, including our MPs, who have helped the Council to safeguard the future of this route by making the case for the Public Service Obligation “.
Flybe’s Chief Executive, Saad Hammad said “The people of Cornwall need efficient and affordable air access to the capital, which is faster than road and rail. So we welcome today’s announcement. It is an important step in improving regional connectivity in the UK, which contributes significantly to economic development. Flybe’s strategic vision is to give regional customers around the country more convenient access to the wider world. We look forward to continuing to serve our passengers flying to and from Newquay.”
Al Titterington, Managing Director, Newquay Cornwall Airport commented “Gatwick has been the backbone of the Airport’s route network for a number of years and it is has been extremely important for us to secure its continuation under the Public Service Obligation. A year round daily return service is vital for the Cornish economy and this announcement can give confidence to those using the airport and this important service.
“Flybe are the largest operator here at Newquay and our aim is to continue to grow the number of destinations we operate with them by utilising their extensive network. This relationship will help our route development plans alongside other vital routes such as Manchester and Birmingham”.
Commenting, local MP Stephen Gilbert said “The threat to the Newquay to London air-link wasn't just a threat to the airport, it was a threat to the whole Cornish economy. The airport brings over £54million a year to the Cornish economy and is responsible for providing jobs in Cornwall”.
“Losing the route would have plunged us into economic problems across Cornwall and I am delighted that we have been able to secure a four-year funding deal and three return flights a day. I have a simple message to businesses across Cornwall: the air-link to London is here to stay, it's been saved and it can now be used to continue to grow the recovery across Cornwall."
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