Cornish business leaders have been urged to use Newquay airport to ensure its survival.
Low-cost airlines form the bulk of the airport's business
The airport is facing a £750,000 deficit this year.
At a meeting in the terminal building, nearly 70 executives were told that its future is crucial to the Cornish economy.
The airport is run jointly by Restormel borough and Cornwall county councils.
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, like 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 West Country and Gatwick last month.
Glyn Barnecoat, from an international book company in nearby St Columb, said: "The strategic importance of this airport was one of the major factors in the location of our national distribution centre here.
"Communications between our offices here, in London and Michigan did help quite a bit in choosing this locale."
David Furse, from the investment fund Finance Cornwall, said: "I suspect that Newquay has limited potential in terms of the South West as a whole because there is Exeter.
"Plymouth will only go so far because it can't take jets, but Newquay has the potential on the charter side."
Angie Rowe, from Restormel council, said: "I think there is a recognition, both within the business community and within local government that the airport is essential to the growth of the county.
"We have got to come up with some solutions and those I am sure will happen."