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Government confirms £4.3m funding for regional air routes

Up to £4.3 million will be provided by government to fund direct flights from London to Dundee and Newquay.

As much as £2.5 million will be provided to fund direct flights for a further two years between London and Dundee until 2023.

Loganair will continue to run the flights to Dundee from London City airport.

Cornwall Council will receive up to £1.8 million over two years to run flights from London to Newquay in a reinstated public service obligation (PSO) agreement.

Flights to Cornwall airport Newquay from Gatwick will start on December 15 operated by Eastern Airways using ATR72-600 turboprop aircraft on a daily basis, rising to double daily year-round from January. Fares start at £34.99 one-way.

Aviation minister Robert Courts said: “We’re maintaining these vital transport links, including the hugely popular London to Dundee and the reinstated Newquay to London routes, for people right across the country for tourism and business travel.

“The government is fully behind UK regional connectivity and strengthening these routes as we build back better from the pandemic.”

UK government minister for Scotland Iain Stewart added: “It’s great news that flights between London City and Dundee have been secured for another two years.

“As we work to improve transport connectivity across the whole country, this route will continue to allow quick and easy travel between Tayside and the UK capital, supporting economic growth and job creation.”

Adam Wheatley, managing director at Eastern Airways, said: “Helping solve vital regional connectivity is what Eastern Airways have done for twenty five years. Working in partnership with the UK government and Cornwall Council connecting one of the most distant surface transport journeys in England to the capital via London Gatwick Airport, in a low emission aircraft fits our belief in how sustainable aviation can meet the need of the UK economy and extensive connectivity into the future.

“We welcome the approach taken by all stakeholders and partners to commence this service and will continue to further support the South-West region in wider accessibility, adding around 20 new direct jobs at Cornwall Newquay Airport.”

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said connecting Newquay and Gatwick £opens up both business and job opportunities – vital as the country looks to recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.”

Ten airlines will operate from Cornwall Airport Newquay in 2022.

Interim director Tim Jeans said:  “The London route forms the cornerstone of our recovery strategy and we very much look forward to working with the team at Eastern Airways to rebuild the historically strong demand on the route and make the service a success.”

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Philip Desmonde, said: “It is vital for our residents and business community that direct flights between Newquay and London are maintained and I welcome the news that Eastern Airways will operate our key route.

“This PSO service not only protects Cornwall’s links with London but also offers excellent connectivity around the world into the future.

“While connectivity is vital, we must seek to minimise the impact of air travel on the environment.

“The council has worked with all parties to ensure that the environmental impact of the air route is kept to a minimum by selecting aircraft which have lower emissions and lower noise impacts, as well as aligning schedules to ensure capacity meets demand.”

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