Military aircraft will be able to land free of charge at Newquay Cornwall Airport, which is adjacent to RAF St Mawgan, as of this week for a trial period.
The commercial airport will open its skies to all military fixed wing aircraft under 30 tons. The agreement made between Cornwall Airport Limited, RAF St Mawgan and the Ministry of Defence comes as part of the continuing partnership and working relationship following the transfer of ownership of the RAF runway to Cornwall Council in November 2008.
The agreement with the MOD will encourage UK military aircraft to undertake their flight training requirements at the airport and the skies above it.
Despite losing the runway in 2008, RAF St Mawgan remains well and truly open for business in support of current operations. It is the home to all defence survival, evasion, resistance and extraction training, and, through the colocated headquarters of Defence Training Estates Cornwall, is also host to numerous night-stops from across various defence and cadet organisations, who conduct a wide range of operational and adventurous training in the South West.
RAF St Mawgan’s Station Commander, Wing Commander Graham House, said:
This arrangement shows the need to work together, and what we can achieve when we do so. This agreement has not, to the best of my knowledge, been achieved before in the UK and places Cornwall in a good position from which to build. “It shows both the need and the benefit of co-existing in harmony. RAF St Mawgan exists both to support operations and regional development, and the opportunities presented by closer relationships with Newquay Cornwall Airport and Cornwall Council are clear for all - we must work better together in order to achieve more with less.
Al Titterington, managing director of the airport, said:
The use of the airport for flight training makes sense as the long runway and uncongested airspace is ideal for this type of activity. The strong relationship between the airport and the MOD has been maintained and hopefully this agreement will create further opportunities for military flight operations at Newquay.
The agreement between the MOD and Newquay Cornwall Airport commenced on 15 February and runs until 30 April 2011. Both organisations will review the mutual benefits over this trial period and look towards a more permanent arrangement.