Newquay Airport For Sale, or Not For Sale?

Confused is my current position on sale/non-sale of Newquay Airport. The Council’s own press statement said and I quote:

“There are three main options on the table – the sale of the airport, part acquisition of the site and entering into a management service agreement to operate the airport.”

However today, I asked the Portfolio Holder for Corporate Resources the question on possible claw-back in European money if the airport was sold. As I said before, this claim was repeated over and over again when the matter of the airport was raised in the early days of Cornwall Council.

The Portfolio Holder said the airport will not be sold, and then completely ignored my original question about repaying money. This was backed up (later on) by the Director of Corporate Resources saying the council would not sell the airport, but more than likely enter into a management agreement with someone.

So why say in a press statement one of the three options is for the sale, when in reality it won’t be. How can any investor have the confidence if there is such a mixed message. It was bad enough of having to hear of the sale/non-sale in a press statement, but lets get the message right.

It was also interesting to hear that the ‘soft’ marketing of the airport would cost around £50k. The Portfolio Holder for Economy said this cost of marketing should come from European money. Lets hope he is right, and it does not fall onto the council tax payer.

My feeling there’s more to this sale, non-sale than is currently being said. Lets hope those elected to the council are told all the details, and soon.

2 comments

  • Rob's blog

    Hmm the Council really doesn't know what to do with this one. To be honest they've little choice they're bound by EU contracts to not sell and are stuck with a loss making business. These are also the same problems any potential buyer or contractor would face and would make any sale/ managment contract difficult. Therefore they have to make it work, certainly the government have helped with the enterprize zone, but is it enough? Can an unprofitable airport make money elsewhere?

    Ultimately ownership of Newquay airport is underlined by the idea that a Cornish airport is good for Cornwall and our economy. The lack of demand for flights and thus lack of profits indicates that it is not neccesary on a large scale that travellers from Cornwall and to Cornwall find other ways to get here. In my opinion it is imperative that the people of Cornwall decide whether they want/ need an airport. And crucially how much we want to pay for it. The question of the benefit of the airport needs to addressed and then we can look at what to do.

  • Paul Sanderson

    Just picked up on this. After a litle more thought what is it that CCC are thinking of selling – they can't sell the airport as the MoD and the yanks are still there – are they just proposing to sell the operation or lease of the civil side of the airport?

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