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Last Updated: Friday, 28 November, 2003, 19:06 GMT
Airport considers 'departure tax'
Newquay Airport
The airport now handles 250,000 passengers a year
A Cornwall airport could become the first in the UK to impose its own local "departure tax" on passengers.

Newquay Airport faces a shortfall of 750,000 because British Airways has stopped using it and the new local airline Air South West does not pay the same amount in landing fees.

The money would have to be handed over in addition to all the other charges that people pay when flying from the airport, which is run jointly by Restormel Borough Council and Cornwall County Council.

Ryanair, which is another major carrier which uses the airport, has said the idea is "totally crazy".

It might have to be a pill we swallow
Malcolm Bell,
South West Tourism
The number of passengers at Newquay has soared in the past two years, from 85,000 a year to nearly 250,000.

But low-cost airlines, such as Air South West and Ryanair, which form the bulk of the airport's traffic, pay lower charges than BA which dropped its routes between the South West and Gatwick in October.

If the proposal is brought in, Newquay could make passengers pay a surcharge of a few pounds as they check in. It would almost certainly not be rolled in with the cost of the air ticket because the airlines themselves want to appear low-cost.

It is only a suggestion, but it is gaining ground fast.

Malcolm Bell of South West Tourism said: "It really is almost the last thing we'd like to see happening.

"But if that means we keep Newquay operating, it might have to be a pill we swallow, because Newquay is so strategically important for the current tourism and the future development of the county."

Thelma Sorensen of the Cornwall Business Partnership said: "When you consider 3 or 4, it really is a very small amount of money.

"I would've thought if people have been to Cornwall and they've enjoyed being in Cornwall, it's a very small price to pay."

But if other airlines join with Ryanair's verdict of the scheme, airport bosses risk a damaging row with the companies that use their facilities.

Firms urged to fly
19 Nov 03  |  Cornwall
More councils may pay for airport
30 Sep 03  |  Cornwall
Passenger tax could help airport
24 Sep 03  |  Cornwall
Airport faces cash crisis
19 Sep 03  |  Cornwall

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