Eastern Airways has become the first airline to return as Cornwall airport Newquay re-opened to passenger services.

The regional carrier re-started a service from Leeds-Bradford on Friday, marking the launch of the summer season.

The initial flight was sold out and forward demand is thriving, highlighting the popularity of Cornwall as the UK hospitality and tourism sectors begins to re-open, according to the airline.

Eastern will operate the Newquay service with up five flights a week, adding to the planned return of a Leeds-Bradford-Southampton service.

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Newquay will also be served again for the second year running from Teesside.

General manager Roger Hage said: “We are delighted to be back operating the Newquay Cornwall airport services with the first Leeds-Bradford airport departure full.

“Bringing this service back as the first operator into Newquay is part of our wider return. As passenger confidence increases following the UK’s relaxation of restrictions, we want to ensure the right services and frequency is being offered.”

Cornwall airport Newquay managing director Pete Downes said: “We were pleased to welcome Eastern Airways back to Cornwall airport Newquay as the first operator resuming scheduled services since the partial relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.

“The airline has played a key role in keeping Cornwall connected throughout the past year, operating services whenever it has been safe and legal to do so, and we are grateful to them for their commitment.

“The strong demand seen on this first flight is a reminder of how vital the links between Cornwall and the north of England are.”