British Airways launches Newquay flights in snub to Flybe

Simon Calder
British Airways will fly to Newquay from Heathrow five times a week: Getty Images

Less than four weeks after the troubled regional airline, Flybe, controversially revealed it was ending its flagship link from Newquay to Heathrow airport, British Airways has announced it will serve the route this summer.

BA will assign an Airbus A320 jet to the 210-mile route for five round-trips per week between 2 July and 7 September.

This compares with 28 services a week currently being operated by Flybe – which launched the Newquay-Heathrow link to great acclaim in March 2019.

But Flybe confirmed last month that it will switch flights back to Gatwick. The Heathrow slots are rumoured to be used by Flybe for a new route to Dusseldorf – in competition with British Airways.

Richard Thomasson, Newquay airport’s interim director, said: “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.”

BA’s move will provide extra seats between London and Cornwall during the peak summer season, but the timings are awkward for connections. The Saturday morning service leave Heathrow at 6.40am, then spends over two hours on the ground at Newquay before returning at 9.55am.

Sunday’s departure from Heathrow is at 7.10pm, but returns at 10.35pm – too late to connect with any flights from the UK’s busiest airport.

During the week, there will be flights on Monday and Friday evenings, and on Thursday mornings.

The British Airways move can be seen as an opportunistic use of spare capacity at a time when alternatives to road and rail are in demand. But it may also be interpreted as a snub to Flybe, which is currently negotiating for a UK government loan to keep flying.

The Independent has asked Flybe for comment. The regional airline is soon to be rebranded as Virgin Connect.

British Airways last operated a short-lived link between Gatwick and Newquay in 2007-8.