Plymouth City Airport is set to close by the end of the year as a result of the economic downturn.
Owners, Sutton Harbour Group who took over the airport in 2000 and launched Air Southwest in 2003, said the airport was no longer financially viable due to ‘challenges for the UK regional aviation market’ and the slow UK economy. It is believed the airport losses will pass the £1 million mark over the next year and with nearby Exeter and Newquay airports creating fierce competition the decision has been made to close Plymouth City.
Chief executive of the Sutton Harbour Group, Nigel Godefroy stated “During our 11 year involvement with Plymouth City Airport we have done everything in our power to make it a success, even launching our own regional airline.” He continued “We have always fought for Plymouths air links and sought to do our best for the city and its people, our employees and shareholders, but the usage of the airport simply does nit support the high cost of operation.”
Sutton harbour sold off Air Southwest last year as it struggled to compete with Exeter based Flybe, and its new owner, Hull based Eastern Airways axed a number of Plymouth Citys routes, passenger numbers are now down to as little as 100 per day.
Chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, Tim Jones said that losing the airport was a huge blow to the region and hoped Sutton Harbour and Plymouth city council would not sell off the land, instead suggested they ‘mothball’ the airport for 5 years in the hope that the economy picks up. He claims that if the land is sold for housing development it would only raise around £40 million and if the airport were demolished it would cost at least £1 billion to rebuild should the economy picks up in the future.