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Eastern Airways wins tender to fly from London to Newquay

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After a convoluted and drawn out bidding process, Eastern Airways has won the tender to run subsidised flights from London Gatwick to Cornwall Airport Newquay.

British Airways operates a Summer service from Heathrow to Newquay, but the local authority was willing to offer financial support to an airline which would operate year-round from London.

Flybe operated a Heathrow to Newquay service on similar terms and British Airways stepped in for a short period after Flybe went into receivership.

The service will start in December. There will initially be one flight per day, increasing to two per day in February and three per day in Summer 2022.

It will use a 72-seat ATR72 turboprop aircraft. Whilst this will result in a slower flight than using a jet aircraft, the smaller capacity should ensure that the route is viable even in the quiet Winter months.

Comments (33)

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  • Lee says:

    What’s the point of a Gatwick to Newquay service?

    Nobody will fly this if the BA option operates to LHR due to far superior connections.

    • Paul Pogba says:

      It was a LGW service for most of the last few years and whenever I used the Flybe service it seemed busy, it felt like it was used by a mix of people day/weekend tripping to London and commuters (even before the split attendance/WFH revolution). Not going to LHR when you want a long haul connection is an utter PIA though.

    • Rich says:

      I don’t get it either, but ask Cornwall Council – who apparently deem it a good use of our tax pounds.

      • Rob says:

        Agree. The connectivity options are surely ludicrous. Do Eastern even codeshare with anyone?

        AFAIK anyone that works in minerals down here has to take the train to catch Heathrow flights. What a pointless excercise

        • Paul Pogba says:

          Rail from the West isn’t exactly easy, you either have to travel to Paddington and come back out or get the National Express from Reading with no progress on the Western Rail Approach it’s not going to change any time soon.

          • Andrew says:

            The First service from outside the Station is pretty frequent.

            You can also do Reading-H&H-Heathrow in about 45 minutes if you get the timing right.

          • ChrisA says:

            The Railair connection from Reading has gone downhill of late – now generally once per hour, and it has added an extra stop en route, meaning a longer journey.

      • Paul Pogba says:

        I’m sure there were Aer Lingus flights to DUB with proposal to add BHD while Flybe were also running services to LGW. I always felt it would have been better to increase frequency to one “hub” (LHR, DUB, MAN or EDI) rather than split traffic and possibly make them all unviable. As someone with little interest in London and knowing LHR slots aren’t going to be wasted on NQY services, Aer Lingus joining Connect and restarting a service to DUB would make my life so much easier.

        With Cornwall Council scrabbling for cash I’m surprised they didn’t broaden the tender to “hub” connectivity or just see what the market did over the next 12 months with the greenwash of encouraging rail use in “the interest of the environment”.

        • Rob says:

          The demise of the Stobart operated DUB flight from NQY was a personal hit, as the quick journey and overnighter at DUB allowed plenty of low tax/fee options for both revenue and points flights. Just as easy to get to…sorry…EASIER to get to than LHR for international destinations.

          • Paul Pogba says:

            You’re right! It was a Stobart operated service, that’d slipped my mind. Apparently an Emerald Airlines has been formed to take up some of the Aer Lingus regional routes although with a fleet of 2 (v Stobarts 13 when it folded).

    • Michael C says:

      No winter service with BA.

    • Rob says:

      …. for 3 months of the year.

    • Andrew says:

      You’re completely misunderstanding what this service is.

      This is the equivalent of a local bus to allow residents of Newquay to reach civilsation in a reasonable time. It’s not about the glamorous international connections.

      • Paul Pogba says:

        I think it’s both a faster journey to the metropolis *and* international connectivity.

        After the financial crisis councils suddenly decided that previously manicured parks and grass verges would be better left to grow wild as it was better for the environment (and a lot cheaper than maintenance contracts). One of my points was that there is an argument against aviation and that could be used to justify encouraging ground transport to the primate city and giving less/no subsidy to maintain international connectivity which can’t be replaced with less carbon intensive road and rail.

      • 1ATL says:


  • DaveL says:

    Amazon link takes me to a page with £7.99 signup – no mention of three months @ 99p. I evidently don’t qualify. Have previously had a membership, but not for well over two years, so not sure why…

  • Richie says:

    Gatwick airports charges for small aircraft are very high.

  • Matarredondaaa says:

    Assume Eastern have built that into the tender price.

  • editingdeluxe says:

    Can highly recommend the one Luxembourg hotel that’s on that Accor list (Mercure Luxembourg Off Kirchberg) – as well as, until the hotel’s own dining restaurant opens, the “Bick Stuff” French restaurant within a 20-minute walk or by frequent door-to-door (and free to all) public transport.

  • JohnT says:

    Missed the comma and was going to try and book 99p flights!

  • Peter Taysum says:

    I’d really recommend Audible if you haven’t already tried. Great for car, long flights. I couldn’t read “To the Lighthouse” (had tried multiple times) but audible allowed me to really enjoy it! Great for non-fiction too!

  • lcylocal says:

    I think the inclusion of France in the Accor offer is a mistake? I can’t find any French hotels in the PDF.

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