British Airways tailfins Image copyright Reuters

British Airways has announced plans for direct flights from Newquay to Heathrow this summer, after troubled airline Flybe pulled out of the route.

BA will operate five return flights a week from 2 July to 7 September.

Flybe, saved from collapse by government help, is switching Newquay flights from Heathrow to Gatwick.

BA said its service will not get a government subsidy, unlike Flybe’s. However, Flybe said the services were not comparable.

Flybe’s announcement last month of the route change to Gatwick came shortly after news of its deal with the government, which was described by Willie Walsh, the boss of BA’s parent company, as a “blatant misuse of public funds”.

The deal is thought to centre on giving the airline time to pay about £100m of outstanding air passenger duty.

The interim director of Cornwall Airport Newquay, Richard Thomasson, said the airport was “delighted” that BA would be flying to Cornwall.

He added: “With such a major global carrier, we will be able to offer our passengers one-stop access to the world, while worldwide investors and tourists will benefit from an easier connection to our stunning county.”

Not comparable

The Flybe route received a subsidy under a so-called public service obligation (PSO). BA said it would not be receiving this.

According to travel expert Simon Calder, BA’s move could be seen as a snub to Flybe, which is in talks with the government about a loan.

Writing in the Independent, he pointed out that Flybe’s service was all-year, while BA’s was seasonal.

A Flybe spokesperson said: “BA’s recently announced summer seasonal Heathrow service is not comparable to the vital year-round multi-frequency daily services to key London airport hubs, with which Flybe is privileged to have served Cornwall for the past 11 years.

“We continue to offer our customers four conveniently timed flights a day on the PSO route to Heathrow until the end of March, following which flights will revert to London Gatwick with the same frequency, giving the choice of 28 flights a week.”

Neil Chernoff, BA’s director of network and alliances, said: “We know that customers enjoy exploring the UK as much as they do going further afield, and Newquay has so much to offer, especially in the summer months.”

BA said it was now offsetting carbon emissions on all its flights within the UK, as part of its commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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