The temporary closure of Newquay Airport has “seriously damaged” the county’s reputation, according to the Conservative Shadow Minister for Cornwall.
All flights in and out of Newquay have been cancelled from this Sunday until December 19, after airport owner Cornwall County Council failed to obtain its Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licence in time. It had been due to take over air traffic operations from the RAF on December 1.
Now Mark Prisk MP fears the fiasco could have serious repercussions. He told the BBC: “Cornwall is a great place to live and work. My worry is that people will look at this and think that here is a county council that can’t even run basic contracts. Why would I want to invest there? Why would I want to have jobs there?
“I hope that isn’t the case, but my fear is that Cornwall County Council may have seriously damaged the excellent image that Cornwall has.”
The council’s economy portfolio holder, Andrew Mitchell, commented: “The county council was brave enough to take on a unique challenge – to take a military air base at RAF St Mawgan and turn it into a civilian aerodrome.
“That was a huge challenge and we have managed that up to date, and at the last minute there has been one hitch which unfortunately has tripped us up. I am really sorry for people who are going to be hugely inconvenienced.”
Stephen Gilbert, the Liberal Democrat Prospective MP for Newquay, added: “This closure is going to leave many people who already had tickets to and from Newquay airport facing unexpected costs for rearranging their flights and getting to and from alternative airports.
“The inconvenience is bad enough, but leaving passengers out of pocket is unacceptable. The County Council must now work with its partners to make sure that passengers don’t lose out.”