The future of Cornwall’s year-round link to the capital was confirmed this evening (July 6).
Air links with London will resume on Friday July 24 with British Airways operating services between Newquay and Heathrow.
British Airways will initially begin operating three flights a week in July, increasing to five a week in August and daily from September.
The service will operate under a Public Service Obligation, which provides financial support, if required, to ensure the route is maintained year-round.
Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Geoff Brown, said: “I welcome the arrival of British Airways in Cornwall to operate our key route between Newquay and London. This PSO service not only protects Cornwall’s links with London, but will also offer excellent connectivity around the world into the future.
“While it is vital for our residents and business community that direct flights between Newquay and London are reinstated, we are taking a measured approach at this time and I am pleased that British Airways has recognised the importance of a phased return of the London service.
“We are confident that as the airline industry begins to make steps to resume operations, the introduction of this well respected national airline, operating into the UK’s major hub airport will offer fantastic worldwide connectivity and a major boost for both Cornwall’s airport and the economy of the region.
“The collapse of Flybe was a blow, but we have been able to work with Cornwall Airport Newquay, the Department for Transport and St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double, to secure the new operator.
“British Airways will be operating the PSO route under an emergency order for seven months while we work with the DfT to run the tender process for the four-year contract which will begin in March 2021.”
Mark Duddridge, chair of the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Cornwall’s air links are going to be vital to rebuilding our connectivity with other parts of the UK and the rest of the world. We know that coronavirus travel restrictions have had a severe impact on all parts of our economy and once we enter the recovery phase this link will help show that we are open for business.”
Pete Downes, MD at Cornwall Airport Newquay said: “The London route forms the cornerstone of our recovery strategy at Cornwall Airport Newquay. In securing a British Airways service to Heathrow, I’m confident we have the fantastic airline partner and London gateway that Cornwall deserves.
“We very much look forward to working with the team at British Airways, alongside our stakeholder partners locally, to rebuild the historically strong demand on the route and make the service a success.”
Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay, added: “I am pleased to have worked with all concerned to see the important London-Newquay route maintained with Government backing as we look to come out of the Coronavirus crisis. To be able to secure this route to Heathrow and with the UK’s flag carrier airline is a real vote of confidence in the future of the airport. Cornwall Airport Newquay is vital to the Cornish economy and will play a key role in enabling us to bounce back from the crisis. I look forward to continue working with the airport management, Cornwall Council, government ministers and the airlines to ensure the airport will be able to survive and prosper for the future.”