Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Newspaper column 28 November 2018 - More good news for Cornwall Airport Newquay

The past week has seen some really good progress for Cornwall Airport Newquay with some exciting news for next year and some big steps forward with other long term goals for this vital piece of transport infrastructure in Mid-Cornwall.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of the airport and the links it provides for business and tourist to the Cornish economy.

On 16 November I welcomed Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg to the airport to discuss a number of matters relating to the future growth and expansion of the airport.

With the airport celebrating its busiest year so far, with 460,000 passengers using it, I was also pleased to get that the minister restated the Government’s support for the Newquay-London route via the recently announced continuation of the Public Service Obligation.

At the same time I took the opportunity to continue to lobby for the Heathrow route that people have been asking for, for years.

While the route to Gatwick has been a massive part of the business for our airport, with 40% of passengers currently using the London route, a regular link to Heathrow would provide even bigger and better opportunities through a direct link to world markets. Heathrow offers great connectivity to around 85 different countries including some of the faster global economies.

In Parliament earlier this week I continued to lobby the Secretary of State for Transport to win his support when he attended another event I hosted to promote the bid for Spaceport Cornwall.

I was delighted then, when on Thursday the Secretary of State announced the Governments support for a Heathrow connection.

The route will be run by Flybe, with the support of the Government and Cornwall Council via the Public Service Obligation and will replace the Newquay to Gatwick link. Flights will start in April 2019, increasing from three to four a day, seven days a week.

The service to Heathrow, which is the world's second busiest airport for international travel, will help businesses in Cornwall to compete nationally and internationally, attracting inward investment and boosting tourism.

It will also provide much-improved access to Central London via the sixteen minute Heathrow Express service to Paddington, Piccadilly Line and eventually the new Crossrail service.

This route will also open up possibilities for the export of Cornish goods through Heathrow which is the UK’s biggest port by value of the goods handled.

This is something I have worked hard with Ministerial colleagues to bring to reality and I would also like to thank the Transport team at Cornwall Council and management of Newquay airport for their work in securing this.

I believe this new route will not only help the airport to continue to grow but will also have a very positive impact on our local economy. It can also only help our bid for the Spaceport which I continue to work for.

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