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17.11.05
Minister welcomes removal of uncertainty about the future of Newquay Cornwall Airport

Aviation Minister Karen Buck today welcomed the announcement by Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Adam Ingram about the base for the new Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) and the clarity it provides about the future of RAF St Mawgan and Newquay Cornwall Airport, with which it is co-located.

Ms Buck said: "I hope today's announcement about the Ministry of Defence's plans for basing the Joint Combat Aircraft will help to alleviate concerns in Cornwall about the long term future of Newquay Cornwall Airport. I am aware that the RAF's consideration of St Mawgan as one of a number of options for JCA has created some uncertainty about the future development of the airport. It was important that MoD examined thoroughly all the available options for JCA. Now that they have decided to base the aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth and discounted St Mawgan as a possible second base, this leaves the way clear for Cornwall County Council to bring forward plans for the long-term development of the airport to enable it to become one of the key transport gateways to the far South West."

Cornwall County Council, which operates Newquay Cornwall Airport (NCA), contributes to the cost of operating the airfield in return for access to the runway and apron and for a range of operational services provided by the RAF, most notably fire cover and air traffic control. Under the terms of today's announcement, these services will need to be provided by Newquay Cornwall Airport from the point at which the airfield at RAF St Mawgan is decommissioned and military flying ceases.

With this in mind, Ms Buck went on to say: "I have agreed with Adam Ingram that it is now important that we ensure a smooth transition from the use of RAF St Mawgan as a military airfield to a fully civilian operated airport. I am aware that Cornwall County Council and its local and regional partners have been undertaking work to prepare for this eventuality, but there remains a lot to do in a relatively short timescale. Our departments, together with others with an interest in optimising the benefits of the airport for the development of Cornwall's economy and tourism sector - such as ODPM, DTI and DCMS - will continue to work closely with the County Council and its partners to ensure this is achieved.

"I am aware that there has been a lot of interest in developing new routes to NCA, both from airlines which already operate from the airport and from others who are considering doing so. I hope today's announcement will help to allay any concerns they may have had about potential future military use of the airport and that they will now feel able to bring forward the new services that the people of Cornwall, its business community and potential visitors to the region would like to see."

For further information please contact Matthew Willey in the Defence Press Office on 020 7218 7924 or visit www.mod.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Newquay Cornwall Airport through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

1. Newquay Cornwall Airport is operated by Cornwall County Council and managed on their behalf by SERCO. The terminal building and associated hangar and car parking forms a civil enclave on the North side of RAF St Mawgan. It uses St Mawgan's runway, and a small part of its apron, to serve commercial airlines operating a range of domestic (London, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Bristol etc) and international (Dublin and Malaga) services.
2. Airlines include Air South West (who yesterday announced additional domestic services from the airport), Ryanair, bmibaby, Monarch Scheduled and Skybus (who provide links to the Isles of Scilly).
3. The airport has grown rapidly in recent years, and annual passenger numbers are expected to reach 300,000 by the end of 2005, with close to 750,000 forecast within the next 5-10 years.

Press Enquires: 020 7944 3387
E-mail: press@dft.gov.uk
Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: www.dft.gov.uk

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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