FlyBE Pullout Raises Questions Over Newquay Airport

Newquay Cornwall airportQuestions are being asked about the on-going viability of Newquay airport after Flybe pulled the plug on their 100,000 passengers-a-year Gatwick route.

But whatever happens with the cash-strapped airport, the Chief Executive of the Steamship Company, Jeff Marston, says Skybus will rise to the challenge.

Yesterday Flybe announced they were selling their Gatwick landing slots to Easyjet, which means their London to Newquay service will end next March.

Skybus work closely with Flybe who will continue their Exeter routes.

Jeff says he had no prior warning that the service will end. He says the loss of a service into the southwest is disappointing but the route did not appear to increase Skybus traffic to the islands.

He says Scilly’s niche service nature, and our runway constraints that require smaller planes, means Skybus “isn’t on the big boys’ radar” and that protects our service.

The loss of the route could cost the loss-making Newquay airport over £500,000 a year. It’s still open only because its owner, Cornwall Council, subsidises it to the tune of over £3m a year.

Newquay airport Managing DIrector Al Titterington says there are two airlines interested in the route but Skybus’ Jeff Marston hasn’t heard who those are.

Airport spokesperson Sarah Burke says she doesn’t expect any changes to the level of service provided by Newquay Cornwall Airport to Skybus or general travellers.

We asked Julian Pearce of the Council’s Tourism Department for his views.

In a statement we were told that the Council remain positive over the future of air links between Scilly and the mainland and they will continue to work with the relevant bodies on the mainland, including those at Newquay airport, to seek continued improvements for air travel to the islands.

They added that the Council is working with the Steamship Company to access funds to harden Land’s End runway.