15 FEBRUARY 2021


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Article from BTNews 15 FEBRUARY 2021

Cornwall plea by Heathrow

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow CEO, has gone public on a plea to Nigel Blackler, service director – transport and infrastructure at Cornwall Council to decide as soon as possible on reinstating the Newquay – London Public Service Obligation (PSO).

The Department for Transport (DfT) has delegated the responsibility for the route to the County Council.  Successfully flown by a number of small airlines in the past Flybe proposed to move the PSO to another London airport, Gatwick.  The airline collapsed before it could proceed with its unpopular plan.  Much to the dismay of alternative carriers the Council gave the route to British Airways who last year provided infrequent services.

Holland-Kaye was forthright with his comments: “We also believe it is vital that strategically important and ‘lifeline’ routes into Heathrow are protected, maintained and strengthened to support the Government’s ambitions on ‘levelling up’ and driving the economic recovery of regions across the UK,” pointing out “As the UK’s only hub airport, over half our annual passengers travel to long-haul destinations not served by any other UK airport – connecting all four corners of the UK to wide-ranging travel, tourism and trading opportunities throughout the world.”  During the ongoing pandemic, Teesside Airport and the Isle of Man became the latest UK airports with direct Loganair flights to Heathrow – demonstrating the underlying demand for new domestic connections.

Holland-Kaye wants airlines to hand back, on a temporary basis, as soon as possible, unused summer 2021 slots.

“We urge the Council to support those airlines applying for the PSO, as well as make it clear to the DfT that the Worldwide Airport Coordinators Group industry agreement provides the best opportunity for the Newquay route to be restored and for Cornwall to benefit from all that a Heathrow connection brings.”

The full letter can be seen here:

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

David Starkie, London

If the route is strategically important and vital, does that not signal that customers will be willing to pay enough to establish a commercial service (as has happened in the past)? Not sure that the link strictly meets PSO criteria, in any case.

Oliver Ask, Truro

The quicker we get a proper air service to Heathrow the better. BA is a nonsense and even last summer was only after holiday traffic. We need a 50 seater three times a day. The rail service is a waste of time and takes ages. And is more expensive than by plane.