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Bad news, Classic Flight is pulling out of Newquay

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Bad news, Classic Flight is pulling out of Newquay

Old 25th Mar 2015, 17:52
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Bad news, Classic Flight is pulling out of Newquay

Considering they recently took delivery of the VC10 and the ETPS BAC111, one wonders what the future now awaits them


Classic Flight announce Newquay closure
NutLoose is offline  
Old 25th Mar 2015, 19:45
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VC10 is engineless and I saw some comments a few days ago regarding the condition of the 111 which was said to be deteriorating at a rate of knots. Surely a major player in aircraft preservation has not brought these airliners to Newquay only to have to scrap them........... but any other solution is likely to be costly.

I find it ironic that the Cornish Aviation Society have managed to keep the St. Mawgan Shackleton looking so neat and tidy over a period of twenty five or more years yet the VC10 and 111's future looks potentially bleak having only been at Newquay for a comparatively short time.
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Old 26th Mar 2015, 07:25
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I find it ironic that the Cornish Aviation Society have managed to keep the St. Mawgan Shackleton looking so neat and tidy over a period of twenty five or more years yet the VC10 and 111's future looks potentially bleak having only been at Newquay for a comparatively short time.
Ah, but Non Emmett, you must realise that the Shackleton has charisma and is revered above mere "jetliners"
Regards, Den.
Shackleton's didn't bother me!!
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Old 26th Mar 2015, 07:46
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Sad news and, selfishly, this has scuppered my plans on what to do with myself on retirement - going to need a bigger boat!

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Old 26th Mar 2015, 22:05
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I mentioned this on the adjacent thread about the RAF museum.

Very bad news. I went to a Classic Air force open day at Newquay last year. Very enjoyable, they had the Vampire and Meteor airborne, as well as the Dragon Rapide doing pleasure flights (I gave that a miss as it was a tad more than the ten bob I paid for my last flight in one!)

I understand that what has crippled them is the £250k pa rent which Cornwall Council have been charging them for the hangar. Considering that august body was basically made a gift of the site by the MOD, they havent covered themselves in glory in running the setup - certainly I think having them as a landlord was one of the factors which cause M.O'L. to bail out of Newquay a few years back.

I have suggested that once the hangar is empty the council might try setting up a whelk stall in it, although even then I am not sure how succesful the venture would be

Still, Cornwall's loss is Coventry's gain, so what with that, Cosford and Newark the Midlands are now very well catered for.
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Old 26th Mar 2015, 22:54
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It was about setting up a public attraction. We became the restoration site because there was to be no Coventry site. They were moving lock stock and barrel at first but something or more like someone changed that to the relief of the engineers facing a move to Cornwall. Read the original press releases about them coming here. They wanted more footfall than they were ever going to get in CVT, tapping into the tourist trade here in Cornwall. They set up the trust Classic Aircraft Trust and together with the advantage offered by the government Enterprise Zone, they would have benefited from some reduced rates and rentals etc. They were aware of future cost and increases, they have simply decided not to pay them and return to whence they came. The founder is a very experienced businessman apparently and I am sure he knew/knows exactly what he was doing. I guess things may have changed at CVT in the meantime but I believe they were never intent on staying here long term. They are now stating visitor numbers again suggesting the complete opposite of what they said three years ago.

Newquay Airport have been extremely supportive of the Museum here but constantly changing goal posts by this Conventry based organisation has only lead to delay the anouncement finally issued yesterday.
I have little time or regard for Cornwall Council but Newquay Airfield is a major drain on their resources as last I heard the airport was making a loss exceeding three million pounds a year. 404 hangar is a prime asset and they need to pull in as much in rental income as they can, hopefully it will see useful aviation related activity again very soon

The story doing the rounds is that the local council gave them a good deal with the rent of the hangar for the first year, then the rent would increase after the first twelve months. But the story goes they have not been paying the rent and they had been told to vacate the hangar.
All in all a mess and no-one wins in the end.
From the above thread.


Last edited by NutLoose; 26th Mar 2015 at 23:10.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 16:57
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Methinks this is the usual case of Mr Collett changing his mind on a whim after trying something for a couple of years. It was ever thus, many projects at CVT have gone the same way.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 17:20
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But on a more positive note, the Shackleton is safe

I could never figure out the logic for Classic Flight moving down, other than cheap rent in the hangar. Having attended meetings as a budding volunteer when it started, it all seemed to rely on a lot of peoples goodwill for not much in return.

As for Cornwall Council and their management of Newquay/SMG - well, it matches just about everything else they do down here. Chuffing useless. When they took over the airfield, they didn't even realise they had to get the lighting and approach systems certified to civil criteria - cue the airfield being shut for 6 weeks while they sorted it out.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 19:59
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It's hard to lay this one at the door of Cornwall Council as Serco was 'running' the airfield prior and NOT the MoD - New Company - Cornwall Airport Limited - Take charge of Newquay Airport : UK Airport News Stories

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Old 27th Mar 2015, 20:44
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Growing threats

Maybe with all the increased activity from Russian 'Bears' on our Western approaches Newquay might again be a useful asset to the M.oD.?
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 09:43
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Maybe my feelings on the council are influenced by other factors.... A frank explanation of the economic difficulties of running a regional airport, below from a local councillors blog. However, the usual Ryanair 'holding to ransom' (no landing fees) followed by BA (City Express/Brymon etc) pulling off the route were a bad set of circumstances. In a similar vein, Sutton Holdings stuffed Plymouth and Air Southwest. It's a tough environment to operate in out there and the regions suffer when it comes to transport links.

I think this qualifies as thread creep

Newquay Airport has always had its supporters, those who think we should get shot of the place as quick as possible and those who question the amount of subsidy the airport receives which allows it to operate. On the latter, the subsidy is a moot point to some (or many?) when it comes to the difficult budget decisions the Council is facing in the next few years.

Before I go on it will be worth doing a quick history of why Cornwall Council owns the airport. Back in April 2004 the former Cornwall County Council took over responsibility for operating Newquay Cornwall Airport. This was following the withdrawal by the former Restormel Borough Council, which had previously owned the facility. Then in November 2005 the MOD announced that military operations at St Mawgan would end on August 2008 and in December Cornwall Airport Limited took over control. As a result of this, the County Council applied for a licence from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to operate the airport as a civilian facility. This included a new air traffic control landing system and tower, new Aerodrome lighting on the runway and taxiway, a new runway surface, improvements to the terminal building and a new Newquay Cornwall Airport Fire and Rescue Service with purpose-built fire station.

The County Council then spent approximately £76m transforming the former military airfield to a fully compliant civil airport – of this £49m came from European funding, with £27m coming from the Council. The European funding agreement committed the Council to having an operational airport for the next twenty years. If the airport was to close before the 20 years was up, the Council could have to repay the £49m.

The Airport has been operated by Cornwall Airport Limited (CAL), a Private Limited Company wholly owned by Cornwall Council, since 2008 and the Council currently pays an annual subsidy to support the Airport. In 2009/10 the subsidy was £4.007m but this year is less than £3m, despite the worst economic aviation recession in 60 years. The council commissioned a detailed cost review in 2013 to see if the airport was being run as efficiently as possible. The report showed that over £850,000 had been taken from the cost base over the last few years and said that CAL were doing a good job.

So why not sell the airport? Well you can only sell an airport if there is someone willing to buy it. The Council did test the market to see if anyone was interested prior to the last unitary election, but no buyers came forward. So that pretty much rules out the option of selling. To look at the national context of why no-one was interested could be the reason several airports run by the private sector either closed (Manston in Kent, Bristol Filton and Blackpool is on notice to close) or brought back into the public sector because they were not viable. (Cardiff and Glasgow Prestwick).

Flybe operate three departures a day to London Gatwick. However, in May 2013 Flybe decided to sell its slots at London Gatwick (putting at risk the Airport’s vital London service), Newquay Cornwall Airport held discussions with other possible airlines to service the London route but unfortunately was unable to find a commercial partner. Feedback from possible operators stressed that the route was not commercially viable to them all year round because flight prices would be too high to achieve the required passenger numbers.

As a result of this, the Council and the LEP, with the support of local MP’s have lobbied central government to grant a Public Service Obligation (PSO) for the Airport. Which the Council has been granted subject to the tendering process. Which means those who operate from the airport will receive a subsidy and therefore make the Newquay / London route viable. This is important as the only air services between London and Cornwall are to and from Newquay. A survey of Newquay Airport carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority and CAL showed that about 30% of the Gatwick route were business passengers – ar ound 30,000 passengers per year.

Of course, Newquay / London route is not the only route this airport services, and each route is important to the airport. The more routes the less subsidy the airport will require, but for this to happen we need more airlines to operate out of the airport. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a greater international offer available?

Many business leaders have stressed the importance of the Airport and the connectivity it provides. Passenger surveys carried out identified that about 24% of trips would not be made in the absence of an air service, and all business benefits from these trips would be lost. The alternative modes of rail and car involve significantly longer journey times. But around 70% of users are for leisure use too, so if this airport stopped operating their would be an impact on the tourism sector too.

Another factor of why the airport is important is because supports over 400 jobs, of which 150 direct jobs at the airport. Research shows that the overall economic impact of the Airport is currently around £54.5m a year. This is based on a figure of £5.9m of GVA resulting from efficiency benefits for local businesses; £28.1m of GVA resulting from the 83,500 tourist trips made through the airport and £20.5m of GVA resulting from the full-time jobs supported by the airport. The loss of this would have a significant impact on the Cornish economy.

Finally, the airport is also the site for Aerohub – England’s only aerospace focused Enterprise Zone (EZ). Aerohub is one of 24 Enterprise Zones set up by the Government to create future centres of excellence in key industries such as aviation, pharmaceutical, offshore energy and automotive. EZ’s have the opportunity to attract investment, support development and create jobs through a combination of business rate discounts (worth up to £275,000 over five years for each business in the zone), simplified planning procedures and superfast broadband links.

The Aerohub is led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Cornwall Council – as the owners of the airport and surrounding land. It covers 650 acres with ample development opportunities, including hangars, office space and a business park. So far it has attracted seven new businesses and created more than 130 jobs since its inception in 2012. The long-term aim for the Enterprise Zone is to unlock further growth of both the aerospace and space sectors in Cornwall.

So as you can see, the continuing operation of the airport is so important to many aspects of Cornwall’s economy and simply closing it, or not safeguarding its future will have far-reaching consequences for Cornwall
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 20:08
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Interestingly a very similar debate running up here in Dundee. I confess I have no really incisive view (although I have bothered to read one local substantial study paper produced in 2013) but I suspect the demise of many small regional airports is inevitable and only local politics and taxpayers money will delay the inevitability.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 22:42
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Dundee - I always thought Tayside Aviation was doing quite nicely?

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Old 29th Mar 2015, 11:54
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Dundee - I always thought Tayside Aviation was doing quite nicely?
I think they are poodling along OK (it's a flying school innit), the airport however is in terminal decline (no pun intended) , with passenger numbers one third of what they were in 2008.

Lots of reasons for that - no doubt technically different from Newquay, but with the same outcome - economically non-viable, being kept alive on subsidies.

There is talk of a direct flight to Amsterdam - that would be a result for TOFO !!
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