More Cornish flight connections: Business savvy or a climate change disaster?

Written by Alexander Finer |


Any student that lives in Cornwall full-time, is most likely painfully aware of how hard it is to travel inter-city or even worse, internationally.

It is one of the worst things about living in such a beautiful- but isolated- location. So when on Thursday, the Secretary of State for Transport announced there will be a new direct air route between Newquay and Heathrow Airport, in 2019, I for one was- and still am- overjoyed.


Newquay airport, a familiar sight for many I’m sure | Credit: Ayphella


From a business perspective, this is great news. There is a reason why Cornwall is gathering so much economic investment; there is something attractive here for the long-term. This will also make Cornwall more self-reliant on its technological capabilities. For example, digital companies can be based here and work on international projects without necessarily travelling. The number of high growth businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is growing at a faster rate than any other part of the UK.

The Annual ScaleUp Review, published by the ScaleUp Institute, shows that growth in the average number of scaleup businesses in Cornwall and Scilly per 100,000 of population is outpacing all 40 other areas of the UK, with the region described as doing ‘terrifically well’.

The report says Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly now has 310 scale-up businesses employing almost 15,000 people with a combined turnover of £1.2 billion. And now Cornwall Airport Newquay just got direct access to Europe’s busiest hub, and with this new service, it opens not just a connection to the UK’s leading gateway, but also the world.

Cornwall Airport Newquay’s Managing Director, Al Titterington, told Cornwall Live:


“This new service which will be operated by Flybe builds on the government’s commitment to joining the nations and regions of the UK with Heathrow Airport.


“The introduction of 4 new daily return flights between Cornwall and Heathrow will ensure passengers now have even greater range of choice for when and where to fly. The new link will increase the number of weekly seats being flown between Cornwall Airport Newquay and London next summer by 11.5%.”


There are clearly economic and social factors to the developments of transport links here in Cornwall. However, the Green party have commented on developments, referring to the IPCC report that we have only 12 years to reduce climate emissions and stop climate disaster.


Would it be fair to locals here in Cornwall- if in the fight to reduce carbon emissions crucial transport links were abandoned?

Compared to any other major county, Cornwall has one of the worst transport links, being one of the poorest regions in Northern Europe. Imagine all the CO2 emissions caused by the lack of a direct route, with transport to Cornwall requiring multiple, lengthy, connections. Imagine if you could fly direct to the heart of Cornwall and adjunct with one form of transport, far quicker than you can now. Well, that’s precisely what this plan offers.  

Cornwall should obviously take steps in the right direction and also focus on climate and sustainability issues. To curb global warming, collective action is necessary.

But does this mean punishing Cornwall in the short term and present no other solution be? Cornwall has to have time and transition towards clean energy, but first requires a foundation where residents can have easy access to transport links to be more socially mobile, competing with the rest of the UK. And it doesn’t hurt us students in the long run either.