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Newquay to London airlink going back to Gatwick

Newquay to London airlink going back to Gatwick

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 5:32pm 16th January 2020. (Updated at 7:17am 17th January 2020)

Cornwall's airlink to London is changing back to Gatwick - instead of Heathrow.

Flybe has confirmed the announcement, made in a statement from the MP for St Austell and Newquay.

The route from Newquay is operated by the airline, which narrowly avoided collapse earlier this week.

Ministers insist their rescue deal for the Exeter-based firm has not broken rules about government aid.

The route between Cornwall and London is subject to a Public Service Obligation (PSO) which means it is protected and is subsidised by the government.

However the service is dependent on an operator being available to run it and if Flybe were to fold, there would be doubts about the future of the service.

"Whilst I am disappointed that Flybe has confirmed its decision to switch its London route from Newquay back to Gatwick I do accept the reasons for this.

"I appreciate many will be disappointed at losing the link to Heathrow and I share their disappointment.

"However, in the light of the events of this week the priority has to be securing the viability of the airline for the future whilst securing the best arrangements possible for Cornwall.

"The package of new routes and additional flights, together with the maintaining of the four times a day link to one of the major London airports provides a best available option for Cornwall. It also allows passengers to plan their flights to And from London after March.

"I have been working hard behind the scenes for some time to seek to keep the route at Heathrow but having met with representatives of Virgin, the major shareholder in Flybe, today I have had to accept that the proposed changes provide the best way forward for both the airline and Cornwall.

"I will continue to work with all concerned to ensure the best outcomes for Cornwall Airport Newquay and the Cornish economy."

St Austell and Newquay MP, Steve Double

Flybe has since confirmed its summer schedule for 2020, which features an additional 1,149 flights.

Those include four flights a day to London Gatwick, six flights a week to Amsterdam and an extra five flights a week to Manchester.

β€œI’m pleased that these very positive changes mark the beginning of a stronger, more resilient service for our customers travelling to and from Cornwall.

"It further strengthens our commitment to providing regional connectivity to destinations across the UK, Europe and beyond.

"As we complete our re-brand to Virgin Connect later this year, we look forward to delivering a really robust operation together with a great customer experience".

Flybe Interim Chief Commercial Officer, Oli Byers

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Geoff Brown, said the switch was agreed following an approach from Flybe.

He described the new link to Amsterdam as opening up an "important two way route to that part of Europe for business and leisure travellers".

β€œIt's vital for our residents that direct flights between Newquay and a major London airport continue to operate.  

"Some will miss the current direct route into London Heathrow but I know that the reinstatement of the direct route into London Gatwick will be popular with many travellers who have missed the connectivity it offers to some other international destinations.  

"We are confident that as well as making sure that we have a direct route into a major London airport, the additional benefits we have negotiated will mean that Cornwall Airport Newquay will continue to flourish".

Geoff Brown

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