Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, has called on the Government to do all it can to support regional airports – such as Cornwall Airport Newquay - in a debate in Parliament this week.
Leading the debate on Wednesday, Steve raised the unprecedented impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the UK aviation sector – noting that many regional airports find themselves in a perilous financial situation following dramatic drops in demand.
As a result, he argued, it is crucial that the Government recognises the vital role the aviation sector and regional air connectivity plays in the UK economy and the critical part regional airports play in levelling up all regions of the UK.
Whilst recognising the Government’s £7 billion of support for the aviation sector during the pandemic, he urged the Government to look at providing sufficient ongoing support to keep regional airports open.
He also asked the Government to bring forward a decision on reducing air passenger duty and adding more public service obligation routes to further support the sector as we emerge from the pandemic.
Speaking of the importance of Cornwall Airport Newquay, Steve said:
“Cornwall Airport Newquay is vital to the prosperity of Cornwall and the wider south-west, and it contributes more than £50 million to the economy each year, supporting many businesses through connecting Cornwall to the country and the rest of the world.
We witnessed the importance of the airport during the recent G7 Leaders’ Summit. Given the distances involved and the aircraft that needed to be accommodated, there is a strong case that without the airport it would not have been possible successfully to host the G7 in Cornwall.”
“As we reopen our economy, it is clear the aviation sector will be one of the last sectors to recover. I believe it is therefore vital that the government does all it can to support our regional airports through this time to ensure they can play their part in our future growth.”
Responding, Robert Courts, the Aviation Minster at the Department for Transport, thanked Steve for securing the debate and praised him as an
“incredibly powerful advocate not just for his local community, but for regional air connectivity in Cornwall and the whole of the UK” and affirmed the government recognised the importance of regional airports.