Cornwall’s access to the global marketplace after Brexit has been given a huge boost with the announcement that new direct flights between Cornwall Airport Newquay and London Heathrow will begin from April 2019.
The news was revealed by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in the House of Commons this morning. As part of the new Public Service Obligation, led by Cornwall Council, which is set to commence in April 2019, the existing service will move from Gatwick to Heathrow. The number of return flights will increase from three to four a day, seven days a week, offering the opportunity for additional connectivity and flexibility for both business and leisure travel to and from Cornwall.
Q400 turboprop aircraft will be used to deliver the more frequent service as well as reduce the environmental impact. The new route and frequency of flights has been secured for four years under the new Public Service Obligation agreement. The service to Heathrow, 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.
The flights will be operated by Flybe, Europe’s largest independent regional airline, and builds on the success of the existing route offered by Flybe between Newquay and Gatwick, which has seen demand almost double over the past four years. London flights now account for 40% of all passengers using Cornwall Airport Newquay. The latest news will further increase confidence in the airport, with other airlines operating new routes from Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, said: “Passengers across Cornwall and the South West will enjoy more daily return flights to the capital than ever before, flying directly into Heathrow – the UK’s major international airport. This new route between Cornwall Airport Newquay and Heathrow Airport, supported by the government, will provide passengers with hundreds of links to global destinations opening up new travel and business opportunities.”
Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye, said: “We are delighted to secure a more regular service to Newquay, connecting exporters from Cornwall to global markets through Heathrow and making it easier for inward investors, tourists and students from all over the world to get there. Following the successful launch in 2016 of an Inverness service, the UK’s two furthest mainland airports will now be connected to the UK’s biggest port.”
Cornwall Airport Newquay’s Managing Director, Al Titterington, said: “We have been working for many years to make sure that Cornwall Airport Newquay has direct access to Europe’s busiest hub, and with this new service it opens not just a connection to the UK’s leading gateway, but also the world. By having direct flights to Heathrow, it grows the strength of Newquay and Cornwall’s brand abroad, which is great for the local business community and those wanting to visit our beautiful county.”
Cornwall Council’s Leader Adam Paynter said: “This sends a strong message that Cornwall is open for business. Having four direct flights a day to Europe’s busiest airport provides us with fantastic links and more regular access not just to London, but also to the rest of the world. The new agreement will help businesses plan ahead as well as creating more opportunities to do business across the globe. It will allow people to connect from the region to the world’s most economically important cities, unlocking opportunities for tourism and trade. This will further enable Cornwall to do business with the rest of the world – and the rest of the world to do business with Cornwall.”
Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for Transport Geoff Brown said: “This is a great announcement and delivers a regular route which residents of Cornwall have long been seeking. With 4 flights a day business will be able to access to and from the capital for daily meetings further enhancing the economic benefits and growth to Cornwall.”
Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The business community has waited more than 20 years for the resumption of regional flights to Heathrow so this announcement is hugely welcome. Global connectivity is vital to our economy and now Cornwall will have a direct link into one of the world’s best connected airports, up to four times a day.”
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