The possibility of Newquay airport is there above, the dream of Cornwall having it's own airport has not translated well into reality. This is for a number of reasons, firstly taking over the facility happened at exactly the wrong time, 2008 to today has been a time of a long recession, people haven't the money for holidays. Secondly it is hard for a small airport to compete with bigger airports, especially ones that serve more routes. Thirdly passenger numbers indicate that Newquay airport is of less and less use to people, 2008 431,100. 2009 359,578. 2010 285,000. 2011 an estimate of 195,000. This has been reflected with airlines no longer operating from Cornwall (Monarch and Ryanair for example). The business case for Newquay airport is non-existent, no one would buy the airport as it has no history of turning a profit. The real headline of the airport is the cost, the taxpayer has to massively subsidise the airport with Cornwall Council and European money. The latter European money also means that the airport can not be sold due to contractual constraints that state that money would have to be returned to Europe.
Effectively we have been saddled with a very expensive airport used by very few but paid for by many. Now is the time that the people of Cornwall thought long and hard about the airport. Is it worth the cost? Is there a sound case that the airport is worthwhile? Does it add anything to the Cornish economy?
|A soon to be Algerian Navy Merlin operating from Newquay|
For Newquay Cornwall airport to survive it needs to at least pay for itself and it needs to do so providing flights. Other ventures there are all well and good but can only supplement the income. It is imperative upon Cornwall Council to sort out this mess. I would love to be wrong -for the good of the taxpayer and of Cornwall- but I fear that an organisation that can't make harbour improvements in Penzance has no chance of this much more complicated task. The airport is not a sustainable venture, it soaks up a huge amount of money. Whether Cornwall needs or wants an airport is actually immaterial whilst the airport relies on huge taxpayer subsidies. We have to face the fact that the government's economic plans are not working the deficit is nowhere near being touched and and the punitive taxes and duties on fuel and vat are harming the fragile economy. Further the Eurozone crisis indicates that things may well get much worse before they get better. We need to be thinking ahead, the amount of money available to spend by authorities is bound to continue to reduce, the amount of money people have to spend is also going to reduce. This will have a great effect on the airport. The time to act is now, if we want an airport here in Cornwall we need to find a way to make it profitable....