Newquay Airport

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Cornwall Airport Newquay

Ayrborth Tewynblustri Kernow

RAF St Mawgan
Cornwall Airport logo.png
Newquay Cornwall airport.jpg
Airport typePublic/Military
OperatorCornwall Airport Ltd.
ServesNewquay and Cornwall
LocationMawgan in Pydar, Cornwall
Elevation AMSL390 ft / 119 m
Coordinates50°26′27″N 004°59′43″W / 50.44083°N 4.99528°W / 50.44083; -4.99528Coordinates: 50°26′27″N 004°59′43″W / 50.44083°N 4.99528°W / 50.44083; -4.99528
EGHQ is located in Cornwall
Location in Cornwall
Direction Length Surface
m ft
12/30 2,744 9,003 Grooved
Statistics (2018)
Passenger change 17-18Decrease1.0%
Aircraft Movements41,172
Movements change 17-18Increase10.9%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Cornwall Airport Newquay (IATA: NQY, ICAO: EGHQ) is the main commercial airport for Cornwall, England, located at Mawgan in Pydar, 4 NM (7.4 km; 4.6 mi) northeast of the major town of Newquay on Cornwall's north coast. Its runway was operated by RAF St Mawgan before 2008, and is now owned by Cornwall Council.

The airport handled 461,300 passengers in 2017, a 24.2% increase over the previous year.[2] Newquay has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. The Cornwall Air Ambulance is based at the airport. Since 2012, the airport has hosted the Aerohub enterprise zone.

The runway is able to take the largest and fastest of civil and military aircraft, having been built and maintained for decades as an RAF maritime operations base. The US Navy were present with the USN AWD storage facility and Joint Maritime Facility. With the end of the Cold War and changes in American political priorities, the Americans pulled out of all involvement with the base by the end of 2009. The last RAF flying squadron based at St Mawgan was 203(R) Squadron which moved out in 2008, but the RAF continues to use part of the site.


Military use[edit]

The airfield was opened in 1933 as a civilian facility, but was requisitioned at the outbreak of World War II and named RAF Trebelzue to support other bases in the Cornwall area. The base was renamed RAF St Mawgan 1943, after expansion. The facility was then handed to the USAAF and a number of improvements took place, including the building of a new control tower and expansion of the current runway. The airfield was put under maintenance in 1947, and reopened as a Coastal Command base in 1951.

Since 1951, the base has seen various squadrons based; including 22 Sqn., 203 Sqn. 220 Sqn. (later renamed 201), 228 Sqn. (later renamed 206), both Long Range Reconnaissance Squadrons, 42 Sqn., 7 Sqn., 2625 Sqn (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) and 1 Sqn. (RAF Regiment). 2625 Sqn was disbanded on 1 November 2006, whilst 1 Sqn relocated to RAF Honington. The others relocated or closed. In 2005, RAF St Mawgan was one of the bases shortlisted to house the new Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) in 2013, but in November 2005, it was announced by Minister of State for the Armed Forces Adam Ingram that the operation would be based from Scotland. Helicopter maintenance (HMF) also ceased here in late 2006.[citation needed]

Flying operations at RAF St Mawgan (on the opposite side of the runway to the civil terminal) ceased in December 2008.

Transition to fully civilian airport[edit]

Looking over the ramp at some of the airlines that serve NQY in Summer 2007

In 2006 the airport introduced a £5 per passenger airport development fee, payable by all departing passengers via an ATM type machine prior to passing security.[3] This resulted in Monarch Airlines axing its route from the airport (to Málaga) and in Ryanair reducing the number of flights, though this was later restored. In 2015, it was announced that the £5 development fee would be scrapped in March 2016.

In 2008, the airport closed from 1 to 19 December, to allow time for the takeover of the airfield navigation services (i.e. Air Traffic Control) from RAF St Mawgan and to fully meet CAA standards. Following further inspections by the CAA, flights recommenced on 20 December 2008.[4]

By virtue of a Statutory Instrument issued on 22 September 2009, Newquay Airport is subject to current airport bylaws, per Section 63 of the Airports Act 1986.[5]

An extension opened in 2006 increased the terminal's size by 20%, allowing the airport to handle up to 450,000 passengers a year. In January 2008, Cornwall County Council approved plans for an expanded arrivals hall and departure lounge; a new retail outlet; a business lounge; and new airfield structures. In May 2008, the new arrivals and baggage reclaim area was opened; unlike the old arrivals hall, this allowed domestic and international flights to be processed simultaneously. It also added a gate to the departures lounge.

The expansion of the airport was criticised in 2007 by a number of environmental groups. This opposition was based not only on environmental concerns (given that the majority of flights are short-haul and to destinations that could be served by rail), but also socio-economic concerns that airport expansion would lead to a greater demand for second homes in Cornwall, adding to already inflated local house prices.[6]

Civil airport operation[edit]

The Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair pulled out of the airport in 2006, ceasing flights to London Stansted and Girona-Costa Brava Airport.[7] In November 2008, Newquay Airport released its draft master plan, outlining its plans for the airport until 2030.[8]

In July 2011, the airport's main carrier, Air Southwest, announced the end of all flights from Newquay effective 30 September 2011, leaving the airport with only three year-round scheduled routes.[9]

In May 2013, Flybe announced they would cease flying to Gatwick, leaving Newquay with year-round flights to just the Isles of Scilly and Manchester. On 2 December 2013, Flybe announced they had agreed a deal with Newquay which would secure the future of the Gatwick route until the end of October 2014, so that a public service obligation (PSO) subsidy could be finalized. Under the new deal Flybe was to operate two daily flights, with the afternoon service being dropped.[10]

Ryanair returned to the airport in April 2016, after the £5 development fee was scrapped.[11]

Aerohub enterprise zone[edit]

In August 2011, the UK government announced that the airport's bid to host an enterprise zone for aerospace businesses had been successful.[12] The Aerohub enterprise zone was launched in April 2012.[13] In September 2014, the UK's Homes and Communities Agency and the European Regional Development Fund agreed to fund the construction of a £6 million Aerohub Business Park.[14] Organisations attracted to Aerohub by 2014 included Classic Air Force and the Bloodhound Supersonic Car project.[13]

From 29 March 2013, Classic Air Force has operated from the airport using a variety of aircraft,[15] including the world's oldest flying British jet aircraft and the only flying Gloster Meteor T7.[16] Since April 2013, it has also operated a museum in the 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) Hangar 404, which was previously used to service the Hawker Siddeley Nimrods of RAF St Mawgan.[15] It has now (April 2017) closed, though some of its exhibits remain elsewhere on the airfield under different ownership.

Testing of Bloodhound at speeds of over 200 miles per hour (320 km/h) was performed on the runway in 2017[17] in preparation for a 500 miles per hour (804 km/h) test run on its new specially created race track at Hakskeen Pan, South Africa in 2019, leading to an attempt on the land speed record in the future.[18]

Potential future uses[edit]

In September 2013, the National Aeronautical Centre (NAC) at Aberporth Airport announced it would use Newquay as its second airport for testing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).[19] The NAC said it was attracted by the length of the runway and the facilities of Aerohub. The test flights would require 3,000 square miles (7,800 km2) of segregated airspace over the sea.[20] In March 2015, the airport reported that the establishment of this segregated area had not yet been agreed with the Department for Transport, who stated that negotiations with international bodies to create an appropriate regulatory framework for UAVs were still taking place.[21]

In July 2014, Newquay was one of eight airports shortlisted by the Civil Aviation Authority as a possible site for a UK commercial spaceport.[22] The shortlist was reduced to six airports in March 2015, with Newquay still a candidate.[23] The selection process was abandoned in May 2016 after the Department for Transport announced it would be creating regulatory conditions allowing any suitable location wishing to become a spaceport.[24]

In June 2019, the UK government and Cornwall Council announced they were prepared to invest up to £20m into the airport to create a Spaceport Cornwall as a base for Virgin Orbit. The system would launch satellite carrying rockets to space from under the wing of a converted Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet by the early 2020's dependant on the business case put forward.[25]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter services to and from Newquay:[26]

Aer Lingus Regional Dublin
Seasonal: Cork
Eurowings Seasonal: Berlin–Tegel,[27] Düsseldorf, Stuttgart
Flybe Leeds/Bradford, London–Heathrow,[28] London–Southend,[29] Manchester
Seasonal: Aberdeen, Belfast–City, Birmingham, Doncaster/Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey,[30] Jersey,[31] Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne
Isles of Scilly Skybus St Mary's
Ryanair Alicante
Seasonal: Faro
Scandinavian Airlines Seasonal: Copenhagen[32]

Traffic statistics[edit]

Passengers and movements[edit]

Cornwall Airport Newquay passenger totals 2015–2018 (thousands)
Updated: 20 April 2019[2]
Traffic statistics at Cornwall Airport Newquay
% change
% change
% change
2015 251,987 Steady 22,848 Steady 0 Steady
2016 371,500 Increase 47.4 30,417 Increase 33.1 2 Increase nm
2017 461,300 Increase 24.2 37,113 Increase 22.0 12 Increase 500.0
2018 456,888 Decrease 1.0 41,172 Increase 10.9 3 Decrease 75.0

Busiest routes to and from Cornwall Airport Newquay (2018)[2]
Rank Airport Total
2017 / 18
1 London–Gatwick 173,446 Increase 6.7%
2 Manchester 83,413 Decrease 3.6%
3 Dublin 29,156 Increase 21.3%
4 Alicante 27,163 Increase 27.5%
5 Birmingham 23,521 Decrease 13.6%
6 Leeds 23,034 Decrease 17.0%
7 Faro 20,868 Increase 0.8%
8 St Mary's 18,431 Decrease 8.1%
9 Frankfurt–Hahn 17,617 Increase 8.1%
10 Doncaster Sheffield 7,502 Increase 5.6%
11 London–Stansted 5,535 Decrease 74.2%
Busiest routes to and from Cornwall Airport Newquay (2017)[2]
Rank Airport Total
2016 / 17
1 London–Gatwick 162,574 Increase 9%
2 Manchester 86,526 Increase 29%
3 Leeds 27,741 Increase 763%
4 Birmingham 27,230 Increase 15%
5 Dublin 24,028 Increase 10%
6 London–Stansted 21,495 Increase 2%
7 Alicante 21,298 Increase 3%
8 Faro 20,698 New route
9 St Mary's 20,046 Increase 4%
10 Frankfurt–Hahn 16,302 Decrease 4%


  1. ^ "Nats | Ais - Home". Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e "UK airport data: Tables 3, 9, 12 and 13.pdf". UK Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  3. ^ [1] Archived 20 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Newquay Cornwall Airport reopens to commercial flights under new civilian licence - DN - Defence Notes - Shephard Media". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  5. ^ The Airports Byelaws (Designation) Order SI 2576/2009
  6. ^, Newquay Airport The Case Examined Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine, revised October 2007. Accessed 9 February 2008.
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3] Archived 7 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Air Southwest is to cease flights". BBC News. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Government funding secures Cornwall to London air link". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Ryanair announce new flights for 2016". Cornwall Airport Newquay.
  12. ^ "Newquay airport named as enterprise zone". BBC News Online. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Aerohub at Newquay Cornwall continues to attract businesses". Airport World. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Aerohub business park at Newquay Airport to gain £6m investment". BBC News Online. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  15. ^ a b FlyPast. Stamford, Lincolnshire: Key Publishing Ltd. March 2013. p. 6.
  16. ^ "Gloster (Armstrong Whitworth) Meteor T7". Classic Air Force. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  17. ^ "BLOODHOUND Dynamic testing – Run reports". BLOODHOUND SSC. 16 October 2017.
  18. ^ "BLOODHOUND 500 – SOUTH AFRICA 2019". 15 December 2017.
  19. ^ "UAV testing in Aberporth expanding to use Newquay Cornwall Airport". BBC News Online. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Drones to fly out of Newquay testing site". BBC News Online. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  21. ^ Gallacher, Neil (6 March 2015). "Newquay Airport: Government 'to oppose drone testing'". BBC News Online. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  22. ^ Sample, Ian (15 July 2014). "Space race: eight sites shortlisted for UK's first commercial spaceport". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  23. ^ Amos, Jonathan (3 March 2015). "UK ministers issue spaceport shortlist". BBC News Online. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  24. ^ McArdle, Helen (20 May 2016). "UK spaceport competition axed in favour of licensing model". The Herald - Scotland. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  25. ^ Amos, Jonathan (4 June 2019). "Investment offer to take Cornwall and Virgin into orbit". BBC News Website - Science & Environment. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  26. ^ - Flights retrieved 19 June 2016
  27. ^ "Eurowings - book cheap flights".
  28. ^ "Cornwall Airport Newquay gains Heathrow connection". Cornwall Airport Newquay.
  29. ^ "Cornwall Airport Newquay to grow capital links in 2019". Cornwall Airport Newquay.
  30. ^ "New flights to Cornwall this summer as Blue Islands add third new route". Blue Islands. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  31. ^ Ltd. 2019, UBM (UK). "Blue Islands adds Jersey – Newquay route in S19". Routesonline.
  32. ^ "Sommerprogram 2019: Seks nye destinationer og 17 nye direkte ruter fra Skandinavien" (in Danish). SAS. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2018.

External links[edit]

Media related to Newquay Cornwall Airport at Wikimedia Commons