Major flaws exposed in County Council case for Newquay Airport

(3.10.2007   Groundswell Cornwall)

The first independent report into the future of Newquay Airport has exposed major
flaws in Cornwall County Council’s plans for expansion.   It was personally delivered
to the chief executive and leader of Cornwall County Council on Wednesday 3rd
October 2007.   Groundswell Cornwall, the climate change action group, commissioned
the report to test the County Council’s claims that Cornwall’s future development
can only be secured by turning the regional airport into an international gateway.  

The report highlights basic flaws in the County Council’s case.   Spokesperson
Oliver Baines OBE says: “This is the first time the County Council’s claims have
been challenged.   They don’t stand up to scrutiny.   Many are hopelessly flimsy.  
We are calling on the County Council for an immediate public debate on their plans.”

The County Council claims:     cheap air travel is here to stay.  

Groundswell says:       the chance for cheap fuel in the future is nil.

The County Council claims:     the wider debate around air travel does not apply
to Cornwall.

Groundswell says:     it’s cloud cuckoo land to think that Cornwall can insulate
itself from global issues.

The County Council claims:     flying leaves no more of a carbon footprint than
driving a car.

Groundswell says:     evidence strongly suggests that air travel is more polluting
than any other form of travel.

The County Council claims:     the environmental impact of the expansion will be

Groundswell says:     the Council claims a threefold increase in passengers – the
environmental impact of this will be huge.

The County Council claims:     the airport will break even in 2030

Groundswell says:     even if true this prediction would mean that for the next
23 years the continuing losses at the airport would have to be recovered from
rate payers, or by cuts in services elsewhere.

The County Council claims:     the future prosperity of Cornwall is dependent on
the airport.

Groundswell says:   The County Council’s case is invariably overstated and the
airport makes only a minor contribution to the Cornish economy.


The report has been compiled by Elizabeth Baines, a postgraduate student at Kings
College, London, and  is available at:
Groundswell’s website is at: 
Record passengers at Newquay Airport   (Story from UK Airport News   28.8.2007)

Newquay Airport, is on track for 400,000 passengers this year, a tenfold rise from the 1990s
when the then Brymon Airways had a throughput of 80,000 passengers, of which half
were in transit.

The airport was formerly known as Newquay Civil Airport and is officially still
part of RAF St Mawgan (due for final closure next summer). In the past the airport
was often considered a backwater for UK passenger flights in spite of its 9000ft
(2745m) runway, one of the longest in the country.

Situated near Watergate Bay and 5 miles from Newquay, it is the only surfaced
scheduled airport in Cornwall, the alternative for large jets being Exeter, nearly
90 miles away. Plymouth City Airport, just across the county border in Devon and
about one hour’s drive, is limited to 50-seat turboprops and can only take the
BAe 146 series lightly loaded.

Newquay Airport commercial manager, Karen Medweth said: ‘Our summer schedule
is busier than ever before and we’re delighted that we are on-track to meet our
growth target of 400,000 passengers in 2007. The airlines operating at Newquay
offer some great fares and packages, making accessibility to the region very attractive
for holidaymakers and business travellers alike.’

Air Southwest, the Brymon successor, is the largest operator at Newquay Airport,
offering more than 50 flights a week with in excess of 2,500 seats. Complementing
its established scheduled services from Gatwick, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Leeds
and Manchester, new this season are four flights a week from Cork. These services
have already proved so popular that the airline has extended their availability
for a further month to meet demand.

British Airways, new on the Gatwick route this summer, provides a daily Boeing
737 service from the south London airport and complements the four times daily
Air Southwest operation, some of which go via Plymouth.

Flybe returned to Newquay in March with five weekly services to and from Edinburgh
and for the first time this service will operate through the winter months to
meet demand. A new route from Belfast City commenced in May and last month flybe
announced the start of a flight to Geneva, for the ski season, effective from
15 December 2007 operating every Saturday until 29 March 2008.

Bmibaby flies daily between Manchester and Newquay and likewise Ryanair to Stansted.
Skybus continues to operate up to seven rotations a day between the Isles of Scilly
and Newquay.