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Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2003, 19:51 GMT 20:51 UK
Airport faces cash crisis
Newquay Airport
Lost fees could cost the airport 500,000 a year
Cornwall's main airport in Newquay is facing a cash crisis because British Airways (BA) is to stop using it, the BBC has learned.

BA is due to halt its Newquay services to Gatwick in October because it says it is not profitable.

A replacement airline, Air Southwest, is to take over the route but says it cannot afford to pay anything like the same landing fees and the annual loss facing the airport is far more than the councils that run it can afford.

North Cornwall MP Paul Tyler says there are now fears for the future of vital airlinks for the county, but the county council says it is confident it will survive.

It is a vital link for Cornwall
Richard Fish,
Cornwall County Council
It is understood the total annual deficit at the airport could turn out to be as much as 500,000.

Of other airlines that use the airport, Newquay famously attracted Ryanair in 2002, and now gets two flights daily.

But Ryanair effectively pays Newquay a token landing fee. The airline boosts the local economy, but not the airport's bottom line.

Newquay Airport is funded by the local borough council, Restormel, and the county council. It has also had help from the Regional Development Agency.

Other councils could be asked to help bankroll the airport on the grounds that they also benefit from it.

MP Paul Tyler said the airport is threatened by a genuine crisis and everyone who benefits from it has to help save it.

Big changes

He said: "I'm sure that everybody has got to rally round. It has got to be a partnership between the councils and the private sector.

"Everybody has got an interest in the future of the airport. And if they don't get their act together, if they're too slow off the mark, then it could slip through our fingers and we could lose it."

Richard Fish of Cornwall County Council said: "I'm very confident it will survive, because the support and messages we're picking up from public sector, those involved with economic development and the private sector, are that it is a vital link for Cornwall."

Big changes at Newquay could be essential if it is to get out of the red.

Besides privatisation, one option might to bring in industrial activities, such as the commercial testing of jet engines.


SEE ALSO:
Airline secures London routes
24 Jul 03  |  Devon
Talks to save Gatwick link
10 Jul 03  |  Devon
Airport could be expanded
25 Jun 03  |  Cornwall


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