BA plugs flight gap abandoned by Flybe

February 12, 2020 by No Comments


British Airways tailfinsImage copyright

British Airways has announced plans for direct flights from Newquay to Heathrow this summer, after troubled airline Flybe pulled out of the route.

BA will operate five return flights a week from 2 July to 7 September.

Flybe, saved from collapse by government help, is switching Newquay flights from Heathrow to Gatwick.

BA said its service will not get a government subsidy, unlike Flybe’s. However, Flybe said the services were not comparable.

Flybe’s announcement last month of the route change to Gatwick came shortly after news of its deal with the government, which was described by Willie Walsh, the boss of BA’s parent company, as a “blatant misuse of public funds”.

The deal is thought to centre on giving the airline time to pay about £100m of outstanding air passenger duty.

The interim director of Cornwall Airport Newquay, Richard Thomasson, said the airport was “delighted” that BA would be flying to Cornwall.

He added: “With such a major global carrier, we will be able to offer our passengers one-stop access to the world, while worldwide investors and tourists will benefit from an easier connection to our stunning county.”

Not comparable

The Flybe route received a subsidy under a so-called public service obligation. BA said it would not be receiving this.

According to travel expert Simon Calder, BA’s move could be seen as a snub to Flybe, which is in talks with the government about a loan.

Writing in the Independent, he said Flybe does not regard the services as comparable, as one was all-year and the other seasonal.

Neil Chernoff, BA’s director of network and alliances, said: “We know that customers enjoy exploring the UK as much as they do going further afield, and Newquay has so much to offer, especially in the summer months.”

BA said it was now offsetting carbon emissions on all its flights within the UK, as part of its commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.