Newquay Airport received a body blow today with the news that Flybe is to end its flights to London Gatwick.
The regional airline, citing a 102% rise in airport charges, has sold all of its slots at the London airport to EasyJet for £20 million. It will cease to operate the route from March 2014.
It is unclear, however, whether EasyJet, which is launching a summer Newquay to London Southend service next month, will maintain the Newquay to Gatwick route.
Commenting on the departure from Gatwick, Flybe chairman, Jim French, said: “No business can swallow such a massive increase in such a short period of time and it is with real regret and some anger that we have made this decision.”
Newquay Airport MD, Al Titterington, said the news was not unexpected and that the airport was already in talks with other carriers over operating a daily service from Newquay to London.
He said: “Nearly 100,000 passengers used the busy London route in 2012 providing valuable connectivity to the business community so we are confident another airline will see the value of the opportunity.
“Although the loss of this route by Flybe is a blow it does not signify any loss of confidence in the airport’s viability to deliver essential services to the residents of Devon and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
“The airport is a key part of the transport infrastructure serving the south west and is a vital gateway for travellers visiting Cornwall.”
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that passenger numbers going through Newquay Airport have fallen for a fifth year in a row.
174,000 passengers were served last year, a decline of 25,000 on the previous year.