It has been confirmed that Flybe will operate daily direct flights from Cornwall Airport Newquay to London Heathrow from March 2019.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, said today that with effect from March 31, London Heathrow will be linked to Cornwall with four flights a day, seven days a week, under the new Public Service Obligation. This will replace the existing route to London Gatwick.

Flybe’s chief commercial officer, Roy Kinnear, said: “We are naturally delighted to offer customers the opportunity to fly with us between Cornwall Newquay Airport and London Heathrow on this new route with its increased frequency to London four times a day, seven days a week.

“The decision confirms that Flybe is a vital part of the UK’s transport infrastructure. We not only specialise in connecting regional communities throughout the UK. We also offer the added opportunity for business and leisure travellers to conveniently travel onwards to the rest of the world using the many global services offered by other carriers operating to and from large international airport hubs, such as Heathrow.

“We look forward to this new service to London proving popular with its increased frequency and improved opportunities for inbound and outbound connectivity with many other parts of the world – and to welcoming many new passengers on board next year.”

The news has come somewhat out of the blue and earlier than expected. Cornwall has long campaigned for a reinstatement of the Heathrow link, which last operated in 1997, and had hoped a third runway there would boost its chances.

Cornwall Airport Newquay’s MD, 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.”

Mark Duddridge, chair of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “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.”

The new flights will be available for booking before the end of the month.