Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Newspaper column - Newquay editions - 27 April 2016 - Aviation ambitions

As the UK’s space and aviation ambitions and economy continues to develop, the opportunities available to Newquay continue to be a great source of excitement for me. These are extremely interesting times for the area and I believe the Government is continuing to show its faith in the town’s potential by backing a number of projects.

Cornwall Airport Newquay continues to go from strength-to-strength. The latest news that a year-round air link between Newquay and Leeds Bradford Airport has been secured is just one testament to this. 

From October, Flybe will be operating this service three times a week thanks to the support of the Regional Air Connectivity Fund. This Government fund gives airports, such as Newquay, the ability to introduce early, air routes that are not quite yet commercially viable. This gives airlines time to build passenger numbers and deliver a more sustainable service, therefore hopefully securing them for the future. 

What a great opportunity for residents, students and businesses alike to be able to travel to Yorkshire, a growing northern business hub, within 85 minutes, saving precious hours on a car or rail journey. As a Yorkshireman and a big fan of Cornwall, the Aviation Minister, Robert Goodwill, is on record as saying he is looking forward to making the most of this new service.

I believe the granting of this funding continues to demonstrate the firm backing of the Government and their commitment to Newquay. It is clear that they consider the airport to be hugely important to our local economy. With this backing, we can continue to drive investment both in and around Newquay, the airport and Aerohub, as well as the wider mid-Cornwall economy.

This news follows an agreement last year between the Department for Transport, Flybe and Cornwall Council for a 118 seat jet aircraft to operate between Newquay and Gatwick. Securing support from aviation ministers in Westminster was vital for this and I remain extremely proud to have played a part in it.

Meanwhile, recent figures show the airport carried over 250,000 passengers last year and the forecast for this financial year is 370,000. This is great progress. I have always been a supporter of the airport and will continue to work with its management and Cornwall Council to ensure it continues to strive for more and reach its full potential.

Additionally, the bid for the spaceport continues. I truly believe Newquay is in a very strong position and final criteria depending, is set to be able to put a very strong case forward. I never miss an opportunity to remind ministers in Westminster of Newquay’s merits and to push for progress in narrowing the final six down even further. I am hopeful that we will make progress on this in the very near future. I am very excited by the prospect of a Cornwall Spaceport and truly believe if Newquay wins the bid, mid-Cornwall could be transformed by new jobs and opportunities.

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