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History of Cornwall Airport Newquay

Learn about our journey and how we got to where we are today with our timeline.

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A year like no other saw the loss of Cornwall Airport Newquay’s biggest airline partner Flybe, followed by worldwide travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Airport spent many months shut to passengers, however, did play a big part in the ‘staycation summer’, flying tourists from around the UK to the Cornish coast.

British Airways introduced a summer service to London Heathrow; and Eastern Airways also commenced services to Teesside, Leeds-Bradford and Manchester.


2019 saw the introduction of new airline partner, SAS, operating a direct summer route to Copenhagen. This is the third consecutive year a new airline partner has been added to the schedule.

The introduction of P3, a long stay pre-book only car park, increased the available parking onsite during the summer months for passengers staying a minimum of four days.

The extension of the landside café provided additional seating for passengers.


In 2018, Cornwall Airport Newquay gained a much needed winter sun destination when Ryanair increased the popular Alicante route to a year round operation. 

There were major improvements made to the car parks, with the introduction of a barrierless ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) system, improving the resilience to extreme weather conditions faced on the exposed site.

A new PSO was signed to secure the direct London route until October 2022.


Growth continues with circa 460,000 passengers using the Airport, making it the best year ever and making Cornwall Airport Newquay the fastest growing airport outside of London.


Projected growth in passenger numbers of 50% makes Cornwall Airport Newquay the fastest growing Airport in the UK.


A rebranding exercise sees the birth of Cornwall Airport Newquay, to reflect the Airport’s desire to represent Cornwall and be identified with Cornwall – to support the growth of connectivity options for the local market and support the inbound tourism market as well.


Apple Aviation Group (AAG), the UK based aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) company commences building works on its new hangar at Aerohub.

Cornwall identified as possible location for UK’s first spaceport.


Aerohub becomes one of the largest open development sites in the UK. Aerohub at Newquay Cornwall Airport play host to The BLOODHOUND Project for the UK testing phase of their World Land Speed Record car.

Newquay Cornwall Airport announced as a new UK search and rescue base.

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership welcomes launch of the Enterprise Zone Infrastructure £60m Fund, by the Department of Communities and Local Government.


The government approved an application to develop an Enterprize Zone at Newquay Cornwall Airport. 

Classic Airforce Trust relocated to Newquay Airport from its current base at Coventry airport.

The new Cornwall Air Ambulance site was opened.


Forty tonnes of emergency aid was flown to Haiti from Newquay Cornwall Airport as ShelterBox's massive aid operation to the earthquake-stricken country continues.

Global helicopter giant AgustaWestland based its new helicopter training programme at Newquay Cornwall Airport. AgustaWestland Training Organisation (which is part of Westland Helicopters Ltd) will run the helicopter flight training programme for up to 50 students a year covering specific helicopter skills such as search and rescue and policing.


The final Airport Masterplan is released following a 10 week public and stakeholder consultation.

The Airport receives a highly commented certificate in the 'Major Projects' category of the South West Civil Engineering project of the year awards (ICE).

The new Executive Lounge and 'Destination Cornwall' retail outlet open. Midwest Executive Aviation Limited Open Their New Fixed Based Operator Facility at the Airport. The new facility significantly enhances the private aviation handling facilities at the airport by taking the new facility into the airports controlled zone.

International disaster relief charity, ShelterBox sent 500 tents and ShelterBoxes to Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso – flying out from Newquay Cornwall Airport for the first time since the aerodrome transferred from MOD to Cornwall Council control.


Brand new arrivals hall opened. This marks the 2nd stage of development in the last 2 years at the airport and is part of the airport's plans to increase the capacity of the terminal to meet a throughput of 700,000 passengers a year.

The draft Airport Masterplan is launched on 30 November 2008, setting out its long term vision for future development out to 2030.


On the 1st April 2007 Cornwall Airport Limited assumes operational management of Newquay Cornwall Airport following the expiry of the current Serco contract.

Cornwall County Council received approval from the EU for the use of public sector funding to implement an investment package to transform the airport from its current RAF use into a commercial passenger airport. A new café and bar by the check-in concourse area opens.


The opening of the new extension to the existing passenger terminal building takes place – to include security and safety improvements, car park extension and airside pavement works.


The existing airport passenger terminal is extended with a single storey extension. A plane hangar for commercial use is erected and the existing car parking areas are extended and rationalised.


The "new" civil airport terminal opens (English Estates).


Brymon took over the running of Newquay Airport. During this year Brymon carried over 25,000 passengers on its Newquay-London flight alone. Alidair, Guernsey Air Lines and Jersey European Air lines all ran services.


The first passenger terminal facility is erected by British Midland Airways.


Brymon established a base at Newquay Airport in 1972. Over that summer British Midland operated a London-Newquay service.


Dan-Air commenced a Gatwick – Newquay service. Unfortunately the route didn't perform as well as anticipated and ceased after just one season of operation.

Westward Airways began a daily Newquay – Plymouth – Gatwick – Heathrow service, which saw the aircraft returning via Gatwick to Newquay for the night. Westward continued operating these routes over the winter months thus becoming Newquay's first operator to do so. However, by the autumn of 1970 that company too had ceased trading.


Scillonian (having acquired Mayflower) commenced a service between Newquay, Land's end and St Mary's.


The first flights by British Midland Airways were introduced between Castle Donington and Newquay.


The newly renamed British Eagle International Airlines signed an agreement with Starways (in effect a take-over) under which they inherited a number of routes –including the summer services in Newquay.


A portion of RAF St Mawgan became known as Newquay Airport (RAF St Mawgan) this year and a modest civil terminal was built.


Mayflower Air Services offered services from Newquay to St Marys.


Starways developed their service in 1960, connecting St. Mawgan and Exeter with Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. Later, services were provided connecting St. Mawgan with Leeds and London.


By this time the air Ministry had become more flexible regarding the use of St Mawgan for civil purposes resulting in Starways flights operating every weekend over the summer period for the enjoyment of tourists. The handling of the Starways Aircraft was initially dealt with by RAF personnel on the understanding that Newquay Council would assume that responsibility as soon as possible.


St Mawgan became a Master Diversion Airfield in November.


St Mawgan was repossessed by the Air Ministry.


Fingland's Airways Ltd commenced a tourist route between Ringway and St Mawgan employing Ansons. 


Plymouth and District Aero club adopted the Trebelzue end of St Mawgan for charter and pleasure.


The name of RAF St Mawgan was adopted. From 1943 when the current runways had been built, to the end of the war, heavy long range American bombers transited through St Mawgan en-route to all theatres of war.


Trebelzue became a satellite landing ground to RAF St Eval and supported squadrons engaged on anti-shipping and U-boat patrols.


Western Airways opened a route from Swansea to Penzance via Barnstaple and Newquay. At Newquay, Western used the northern smaller portion of Trebelzue Big Field which by then had become an AA Landing Ground.


Provincial Airways commenced the first commercial passenger service to Cornwall with the landing strip located at Trebelzue Big Field.