Cornwall Airport Newquay

Cornwall Airport Newquay
Ayrborth Tewynblustri Kernow
RAF St Mawgan
Airport type Public/Military
Operator Cornwall Airport Ltd.
Serves Newquay and Cornwall
Location Mawgan in Pydar, Cornwall
Elevation AMSL 390 ft / 119 m
Coordinates 50°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

Location in Cornwall

Direction Length Surface
m ft
12/30 2,744 9,003 Grooved
Statistics (2015)
Passengers 251,987
Passenger change 14-15 Increase14.0%
Aircraft Movements 22,848
Movements change 14-15 Increase146.7%
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, in South West England, UK, located at Mawgan in Pydar 4 NM (7.4 km; 4.6 mi) northeast of Newquay on Cornwall's north coast. Its runway was previously operated by RAF St Mawgan before the runway was handed over in December 2008. The airport is located close to Newquay, a Cornish tourist resort, as well as major attractions such as The Eden Project. It hosts the Aerohub enterprise zone.

In 2014 the airport handled 221,047 passengers, a 26.0% increase compared with 2013.[3] 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.

The runway is able to take the very largest and fastest of civil and military aircraft, having been built and maintained for decades as a United States Air Force (USAF) ASW tactical nuclear bomber base. 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 operated as the Sea King Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) and has now moved to RAF Valley in Wales.


Military use

The airfield was originally 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 then renamed RAF St Mawgan 1943, after expansion. The facility was then handed to the USAAF where a number of improvements took place, including the building of a new control tower and expansion of the current runway. The airfield was then 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.

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

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.[4] This resulted in Monarch Airlines axing its route from the airport (to Málaga) and 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 the 1st until 19 December. This allowed extra time for the takeover of the airfield navigation services (i.e. Air Traffic Control/Fire Services) from RAF St Mawgan and to fully meet CAA standards. Following further inspections by the CAA, flights recommenced on 20 December 2008.

By virtue of a recent Statutory Instrument issued on 22 September 2009, Newquay Airport will, from the coming in force of this instrument on 1 November 2009, be subject to current airport bylaws, as per Section 63 of the Airports Act 1986[5]

The new terminal extension has increased the terminal size by 20%, and was opened in 2006. This means the airport can handle as many as 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 CAA, which were needed to gain the civil licence. In May 2008, the new arrivals and baggage reclaim area was opened; now allowing both domestic and international flights to simultaneously be processed unlike the old arrivals hall. This 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]

In 2006 the Irish low cost carrier Ryanair pulled out of the airport ceasing flights to London Stansted and Girona-Costa Brava Airport.[7]

In November 2008, amidst the airport troubles, Newquay Airport released their draft master plan, outlining their plans for the airport until 2030.[8]

Civil airport operation

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

In May 2013, Flybe announced they would cease flying to London-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 will secure the future of the Gatwick route until the end of October 2014, so that a public service obligation (PSO) subsidy can be finalized. Under the new deal Flybe will operate 2 daily flights with the afternoon service being dropped.[9]

Aerohub enterprise zone

In August 2011 the UK government announced that the airport's bid to host an enterprise zone for aerospace businesses had been successful.[10] The Aerohub enterprise zone was launched in April 2012.[11] 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.[12] Organisations attracted to Aerohub by 2014 included Classic Air Force and the Bloodhound Supersonic Car project.[11]

From 29 March 2013, Classic Air Force has operated from the airport using a variety of different aircraft,[13] including the world's oldest flying British jet aircraft and the only flying Gloster Meteor T7.[14] Since April 2013 Classic Air Force 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.[13]

Testing of Bloodhound at speeds of over 200 miles per hour (320 km/h) is being performed on the runway in 2015 in preparation for the attempt on the land speed record in 2015/16 in South Africa.[15]

Potential future uses

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).[16] 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.[17] 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.[18]

In July 2014, Newquay was one of 8 airports shortlisted by the Civil Aviation Authority as a possible site for a UK commercial spaceport.[19] The shortlist was reduced to 6 airports in March 2015, with Newquay still a candidate.[20]

Airlines and destinations

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter services to and from Newquay:[21]

Eurowings Seasonal: Düsseldorf
Flybe London-Gatwick, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester
Seasonal: Aberdeen, Belfast-City, Birmingham, Doncaster/Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London-Stansted, Newcastle upon Tyne
Isles of Scilly Skybus St Mary's
Ryanair Seasonal: Alicante, Faro (begins 28 March 2017), Frankfurt–Hahn


Busiest routes to and from Newquay Cornwall Airport (2015)[3]
Rank Airport Passengers handled % Change 2014/15
1London Gatwick115,899 Increase 12
2Manchester54,580 Increase 23
2Birmingham23,659 Increase 31
4Isles of Scilly19,929 Decrease 32
5London Stansted14,438 New Route
6Dublin8,271 New Route
7Liverpool5,224 -
8Düsseldorf2,643 Decrease 27
9Edinburgh2,148 Increase 1
10Newcastle2,148 Decrease 11


  1. "Nats | Ais - Home". Retrieved 2015-04-18.
  2. "UK airport data". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 25 March 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  3. 1 2 "UK Airport Statistics | Aviation Intelligence | About the CAA". 2012-10-31. Retrieved 2015-04-18.
  4. Archived 20 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. The Airports Byelaws (Designation) Order SI 2576/2009
  6., Newquay Airport The Case Examined, revised October 2007. Accessed 9 February 2008.
  7. Archived 7 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. "Government funding secures Cornwall to London air link". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  9. "Newquay airport named as enterprise zone". BBC News Online. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  10. 1 2 "Aerohub at Newquay Cornwall continues to attract businesses". Airport World. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  11. "Aerohub business park at Newquay Airport to gain £6m investment". BBC News Online. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  12. 1 2 FlyPast. Stamford, Lincolnshire: Key Publishing Ltd. March 2013. p. 6.
  13. "Gloster (Armstrong Whitworth) Meteor T7". Classic Air Force. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  14. Green, Andy (6 March 2015). "Bloodhound Diary: 'Blink and you'll miss it'". BBC News Online. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  15. "UAV testing in Aberporth expanding to use Newquay Cornwall Airport". BBC News Online. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  16. "Drones to fly out of Newquay testing site". BBC News Online. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  17. Gallacher, Neil (6 March 2015). "Newquay Airport: Government 'to oppose drone testing'". BBC News Online. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  18. Sample, Ian (15 July 2014). "Space race: eight sites shortlisted for UK's first commercial spaceport". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  19. Amos, Jonathan (3 March 2015). "UK ministers issue spaceport shortlist". BBC News Online. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  20. - Flights retrieved 19 June 2016

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