Council bosses have not denied Cornwall Airport Newquay could potentially be sold, writes Warren Wilkins.

The unitary authority, which owns the facility, states it is “exploring options” to ensure that Cornwall’s airport is protected. 

It follows the taxpayer having to pay an annual subsidy to help keep the airport open, which amounted to £3.5m during the 2022-23 financial year. 

St Columb Minor & Colan independent Cornwall councillor John Fitter believes it is time for new management to be brought in to “reverse the revenue loss.” 

An option to potentially sell the airport was reportedly one of the options in a confidential paper at a recent Cornwall Council Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee  Councillors are unsure whether that includes the whole estate as the MoD own some of it or just the civil airport and potentially the runway.  

Cllr Fitter said: “I am myself quite clear that the Cornwall rate-payer cannot for ever-and-a-day continue to provide a subsidy for aircraft passengers flying in and out of Cornwall Airport, because that at the present time is the case. 

“Three-and-a-half million pounds of rate-payers money last year alone. 

“The airport is primary a passenger-used airport with very little movement of freight both in or out of Cornwall.  Following on from the ill-fated love-in with Richard Branston and his space rocket folly I sincerely hope that the cabinet of Cornwall Council will have learned their lesson in that it is undeniable that fresh management skills are urgently required if this revenue loss is to be reversed. 

“So if it is the intention of the cabinet to remove the in-house management and start to get the airport and its surrounding land pay it way then it will have my support.”

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: “The council continues to explore options to ensure that Cornwall’s airport is protected and maintained at minimal cost to the taxpayer.  The decision to explore investment options has already been discussed at the council’s Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee and is on the forward plan, meaning future proposals will be discussed again by the committee.  

“This is the start of a process and no formal decisions on the future of the airport have yet been taken.  

“The safeguarding and continued operation of Cornwall’s operational airport is at the forefront of the current process.”