Questions Over Cornwall Council’s Support For Land’s End Airport

lands end airport signThe islands’ MP says he’s backing plans to hard surface the runway at Land’s End Airport as he believes most islanders would rather fly there than Newquay.

The Council is working with the Steamship Company, who owns the airport, to try and secure around £1.5m of funding to harden the grass runway. It can become waterlogged in heavy rain and caused the closure of the airport for several weeks last winter.

But Andrew George says he is aware of suggestions that Cornwall Council, who operate the loss-making Newquay airport, are not supportive of proposals to upgrade Land’s End runway.

In a recent newsletter, the Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport group referred to the different agenda of Cornwall Council in seeking to maintain the viability of its own Newquay airport.

Newquay received a £3.6m subsidy from ratepayers in 2011 and without significant Council support, its future would be uncertain.

Mr George says the issue is on his radar and he has raised it with Cornwall Council. He added that where European funds are involved, Cornwall needs to let the best interests of the community be advanced.

Cornwall Council issued a statement to Radio Scilly saying that, as Land’s End is a privately run airport, it is the responsibility of the owners to arrange finance for surfacing the runway.

They say they have not received any request for assistance with this project and any grant investment would require a detailed business case to be submitted.

4 Responses to Questions Over Cornwall Council’s Support For Land’s End Airport

  1. Nobby Nobbs May 21, 2013 at 9:07 am

    If either of the two councils mentioned are going to waste vast sums of TAX PAYERS money to subsidise a commerical organisation, in this case the ISSco, I would rather they spend it on a year round sea cat or something similar: and make it start and finish from St Mary’s.

    Governments have always subsidised the private sector in one form or another, the most common being benefit payments to make up for the low wages that the private sector like to pay, but I digress.
    There are a number of ISSco shareholders and directors on the IOS council who would benefit from such an investment, (vested interest) one could aurgue that the islands would benefit, as flights from lands end would become more reliable, although this would only be in relation to rain, not fog or high winds.

    At the end of the day, what ever the solution, its always going to be a compromise, however if public money is used to fund an investment for the ISSco, then as a bare minimum, there needs to be guarenteed service levels for the islanders, resulting in compensation/fines if the subsidised private provider fails to meet the agreed level of service agreement.

  2. Peter A Tamblin May 20, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    I agree with Fly me to the moon.

    Newquay airport will never ever be viable as a self financing passenger airport,because there is just not the passenger traffic numbers available in the County. This was always the case, and had Cornwall Council listened to the professionals in the first place many millions of taxpayers money could have been put to very good use elsewhere. Well done Cornwall Council
    Newquay airport is a Municipal airport, and should be run accordingly, and if still not viable, which I doubt, then should be closed. It’s pretty obvious that no commercial company wants to take it on, and the airlines are hopping in and out like sand flies. Lets be honest, who wants to fly to Southend from Newquay on a regular basis, it’s a nonsense. The answer is to put a regular bus service in place, to take travellers to Exeter, with comfortable pickup points strategically placed throughout the County. Then the 5 Million pounds currently annually being wasted on Newquay, could be used to hard surface the Lands End runway, and probably help with upgrading the current Scillonian.

    Incidentally, the most valuable piece of St Mawgan infrastructure, 404 hangar, which could be rented out for profit to a mainstream aviation organisation, has been given to a museum at a probable peppercorn rent, when there were other tin hangars available which would have been adequate for the museum. Well done Cornwall Council

    And as an aside, the current Airport is actually on the wrong side of the airfield, with hard standings that can only bear the weight of 737 sized aircraft. The reinforced hard standing is the area outside of 404 hangar. Well done again Cornwall Council.

  3. Ralph May 20, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    This is not unlike the recent story on here that St Marys council are worried that Tresco may reopen tresco heliport taking 30,000 potential passengers from St Marys airport.

  4. Fly me to the moon May 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    So because Lands End airport (which most people want to fly to) is run by a private company they have to source the money themselves, but because Newquay airport (which nobody wants to fly to) is run by the Council it can carry on making million-pound losses year after year, taxing passengers and being subsidised by rate payers?

    Sounds to me like Cornwall Council are just desperate to cling on to a black hole/white elephant of an airport out of vanity and pig headedness.

    And how’s that for a joke; Cornwall Council demanding a “detailed business case” be put forward for any assistance at Lands End. How’s the business case holding up at Newquay Airport guys?!

    Once again transport needs of islanders suffer because of vested interests of mainlanders. First it was the destruction of the helicopter service by a bunch of venture capital vultures/property developers, and now Cornwall Council are determined to put a spanner in the works to keep Lands End viable. The only outfit still here and working is the Steamship Company. They’re not run by a venture capital firm (whose only goal was to carve up a dying company for £££) nor are they subsidised by rate payers. But because they’re the only ones left in the game they’re hounded for being “a monopoly.”

    Funny old world.