British Airways to launch Heathrow-Newquay service amid Flybe bailout row

12 February 2020, 10:33 | Updated: 12 February 2020, 12:00

British Airways is to operate summer flights between Heathrow and Newquay after Flybe cut the service amid its fight for survival.

BA said the return flights would operate once a day, five days a week from 2 July to 7 September - with prices starting at £90.

The airline made the announcement after struggling rival Flybe, which currently uses the route, said it would be withdrawn in March in favour of flights to Newquay to and from Gatwick instead.

It took the decision on cost grounds after it secured the support of government to defer an Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax bill to HMRC in return for further investment from its owners, including Virgin Atlantic.

Discussions around further help, including a possible government loan, are continuing.

Ministers are adamant that the assistance does not among to a breach of EU state aid rules - as alleged by industry critics which include Ryanair and BA's parent firm IAG.

The move by BA will likely be seen as a bid to demonstrate the Heathrow-Newquay route can be profitable - in the right hands.

Flybe's troubles have prompted a government review of APD for domestic services as the company's UK-focused routes leave it particularly exposed to the environmental charges.

A domestic return flight is currently subject to APD twice as it applies to each take-off from a UK airport.

BA moved to head off any climate criticism over the new route.

Its statement said: "When booking, customers can be assured that British Airways offsets carbon emissions on all its flights within the UK, as part of the airline's commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

"British Airways invests in the highest quality, verified carbon reduction projects around the world which include quality assured projects such as renewable energy, protection of rainforests and reforestation programmes."

Richard Thomasson, the interim boss of Cornwall Airport Newquay, said: "We are delighted British Airways will be flying to Cornwall this summer and to be able to continue to offer this vital link between Cornwall and Heathrow.

"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."