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£2.5m For Cornwall's London Link
5:13pm 27th October 2014
(Updated 5:13pm 27th October 2014)
Cornwall's airlink to London is saved.
The government's announcing £2.5m pounds to keep services between Newquay and Gatwick.
Flybe will carry on running the service, three times each week day, after originally warning it was not viable.
100,000 passengers a year use the route.
The government money is in addition to £300,000 from Cornwall Council. Three flights each way will take place during the week with two weekend rotations.
UK Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said: "Keeping our regions connected with London is a vital part of our long term economic plan. That is why we have worked so hard with Cornwall Council to protect the route to Newquay and make sure we do all we can to support the local area.
"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."
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".
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."
The Regional Air Connectivity fund was announced by the government in June 2013. The fund is being used to maintain important regional air connections. The government doubled the size of the fund to £20 million per year in the 2014 Budget.
The four year length of the deal provides certainty to the region and marks the second UK government Public Service Obligation following a two year deal for the Dundee-London Stansted air link which was announced in June 2014.
Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill has been at Newquay Airport to make the announcement. He told Pirate FM: "This connection to the capital would have gone had it not been for the successful application from FlyBe to continue the service. We're going to have three rotations a day during the week and two at weekends which means that it will be possible for a businessman from Cornwall to do a day's business in London and get back here.
"Occasionally we've had bad weather. Last winter we had the problems on the railways. Occasionally dare I say there are problems on the A30 and A303 back up to London so it's important we have this third way of getting to London, particularly for business travel but also I think for tourism and the wider economy."
You can watch what it is like to land at Newquay here...
5:13pm 27th October 2014
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