Newquay to London air link will get Government subsidy
THE air link between Newquay and London has been thrown a life line by the government this afternoon.
It has been announced today by the Department for Transport that the route is eligible for a subsidy, called a Public Service Obligation (PSO).
While it does not guarantee any company will take up the route, it does mean there is an extra incentive when the service is put out for tender.
Adam Paynter, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for partnerships, said: “The news that the route is eligible for a PSO is obviously good news for Cornwall and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us to put our case to the government.”
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Flybe revealed in May it was to sell its Gatwick landing slots to rival easyJet, which then announced it would not take over the service when it ceased at the end of March.
Earlier this month, Cornwall Council held initial discussions with the Department for Transport regarding the possibility of the Government providing such a subsidy to help secure the long term future of this vital air link.
The next stage is for the Department for Transport to formally notify the European Commission of its decision.
This will then be followed by the council issuing tender documents inviting airlines to submit bids to operate a service.
Under EC regulations, airlines must have a two month period in which to prepare and submit bids to the council.
At the same time discussions are also continuing with a number of airlines outside the PSO process to see if there are any opportunities for the service to continue without the subsidy.
Mr Paynter added: “Although our aim is to tender for a new service to begin on April 1 next year, the length of the formal process means that it is possible that it will not be in place until later in the summer.
“The Department of Transport is very aware of the issues which we are facing and the need for a decision to be made as quickly as possible.”