Business leaders say Cornwall’s reinstated link to London Heathrow will transform the county’s connections to the rest of the world.
Flights from Cornwall to Heathrow Airport will resume later this month.
The service, previously run by Flybe, had been shrouded in doubt when Flybe ceased trading in early March.
But it has now been confirmed that Cornwall’s air links with the international London hub will resume on Friday, July 24, with British Airways operating services between Cornwall Airport Newquay and Heathrow.
British Airways will initially begin operating three flights a week in July, increasing to five a week in August and daily from September.
British Airways will operate the route under an emergency order for seven months, while Cornwall Council works with the Department for Transport to run the tender process for the public service obligation contract which will begin in March 2021 and protect the route for a period of four years.
The duration of the flight is around one hour and ten minutes.
Heathrow is connected to more than 200 destinations in 84 countries worldwide, and is the world’s second busiest airport for international travel. It is also the UK’s only international hub airport.
The service will also provide swift access to central London via the 16-minute Heathrow Express service to Paddington, Piccadilly Line and the Crossrail service.
Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Geoff Brown, said the Heathrow link will offer excellent connectivity around the world into the future.
“While it is vital for our residents and business community that direct flights between Newquay and London are reinstated, we are taking a measured approach at this time and I am pleased that British Airways has recognised the importance of a phased return of the London service,” he said.
“We are confident that as the airline industry begins to make steps to resume operations, the introduction of this well respected national airline, operating into the UK’s major hub airport will offer fantastic worldwide connectivity and a major boost for both Cornwall’s airport and the economy of the region.
“The collapse of Flybe was a blow, but we have been able to work with Cornwall Airport Newquay, the Department for Transport and St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double, to secure the new operator.
“British Airways will be operating the PSO route under an emergency order for seven months while we work with the DfT to run the tender process for the four year contract which will begin in March 2021.”
Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay, said: “It is crucial that the vital Newquay-London route is maintained and I am delighted to see the Government continues to back this route, going through Heathrow, for residents, businesses and visitors to Cornwall. This connection supports many local businesses as well as tourism across the county.
“Thanks to ministerial colleagues and Cornwall Council for their work in securing this vital link and I am pleased to see this back in place to aid Cornwall in its recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”
Mark Duddridge, chairman of the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Cornwall’s air links are going to be vital to rebuilding our connectivity with other parts of the UK and the rest of the world. We know that coronavirus travel restrictions have had a severe impact on all parts of our economy and once we enter the recovery phase this link will help show that we are open for business.”