Cornwall Council has formally invited airlines to submit bids for the opportunity to operate the Newquay to London air link from the autumn.
The Government announced last year that the air link was eligible for a Public Service Obligation and in March confirmed that it would provide a financial guarantee for the full four-year duration.
Since then the Council has been working with the Department of Transport to develop tender documents inviting airlines to submit bids.
The contract notice has now formally been issued and Adam Paynter, the Council’s cabinet member for partnerships, is looking forward to receiving applications from a number of airlines.
He said: “All airlines are eligible to apply to operate the route and we anticipate that the publication of the notice will attract a great deal of interest.
“The issue of the tender document means that we are on schedule to appoint an airline to operate the service from October as originally planned.”
Under European procurement rules, airlines will have 61 days to submit their bids. These will then be assessed by the Council and the Department of Transport, with an announcement on the successful airline expected at the end of August.
“We are asking airlines to put forward bids to operate both morning and evening flights between Newquay and London,” added Paynter.
“The morning flight to London will need to arrive in time for passengers from Cornwall to be able to do business, with an evening flight timed to enable them to return to Cornwall the same day.
“The morning flight from London to Cornwall will also need to ensure that people can come here to do business, and then return the same day.”