Thursday, 27 November 2008

Embarrassment at Newquay Airport hitch

Next Monday is December the First, the day the RAF withdraw from RAF St Mawgan and Newquay Airport becomes a standalone entity. Well this was the script and, although the RAF are leaving, the other part of the plan has hit a snag. From December 1st to the 19th of the month all intended flights will be grounded. Why? New airport owners Cornwall County Council can't obtain the necessary Civil Aviation Authority licence because the new traffic control system just isn't ready. There was a hope that perhaps RAF personnel could stay for this interim period to keep the thing going but they have already been committed elsewhere.

This is all very embarrassing for the Council, it's not as if they haven't had plenty of time to make the necessary changes to the operation of the airport (I think that previously the military were responsible for all air traffic movements). Airlines using Newquay will have to bus their passengers to other airports from which they operate such as Plymouth and Exeter.

The unhappy start to the new chapter in the life of Newquay Airport reminds me of the chaos that occurred when Heathrow's Terminal Five opened. Terminal 5 doesn't seem to be in the news of late so presumably all is sweetness and light there. Did everyone get their luggage back in the end? Frustratingly we don't seem to get long term media follow ups on these types of story. In fairness of course the subject might have been revisited but I've just not been around at the right moment.

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