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West MPs urge Chancellor not to give control over air passenger duty to Welsh Assembly

Credit: ITV West Country

30 Conservative MPs from across the South West are urging the Chancellor not to give control over air passenger duty to the Welsh Assembly in next week's budget.

They say that if the Assembly decided to cut or abolish the duty, it would leave regional airports in the West Country at a commercial disadvantage.

Credit: ITV West Country

In a letter to George Osborne, they warn of an 'extremely severe' impact on the region's economy.

I want the Chancellor to not devolve APD to Wales and I want him in his budget next week to announce that he's not going to do that to give us economic certainty for Bristol Airport and, by extension, the South West as well.

That's why 30 South West MPs have signed it and one of the reasons that we work so closely together, the Conservative members of the South West, is so that we can use our numerical strength at times like this.

– Liam Fox MP, North Somerset

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Exeter Airport returns to 2009 passenger levels

Exeter Airport says passenger numbers are back to pre-recession levels Credit: ITV News

Exeter Airport says passenger numbers are back to pre-recession levels.

Latest monthly figures show continued growth with 800,000 passengers in a 12 month period for the first time since 2009.

The increase of both inbound and outbound passengers has been largely driven by the return of Flybe's popular sun routes, their additional domestic services and our Thomson-based aircraft with flights to 15 popular holiday destinations.

– Exeter Airport managing director Matt Roach

The Managing Director says the following changes have also helped

  • Flybe's London City route which started nine months ago
  • Extra services to Manchester with Flybe
  • The return of the Newcastle service
  • The latest route to Deauville Normandy, which started in June
Exeter Airport says the boost is partly down to Flybe's new London City route Credit: ITV News

The company predicts that, with the extension of the Flybe summer season for the Alicante, Malaga and Palma Mallorca flights, the rise in passengers through Exeter will continue.

Exeter airport to host flights to top summer holiday destinations

Flybe says flights to Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Palma will return in March. Credit: Flybe

Business in the region has received a major boost with the news that Exeter Airport is to host flights to some of the biggest continental holiday destinations. It follows a change of heart by airline Flybe which had previously axed the routes.

The decision means holidaymakers will be able to fly directly from the West Country to the Mediterranean.

Flights to and from Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Palma were going to be scrapped - but the airline now says they'll be back in March.

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Flights delayed at Exeter and Newquay

Flights into and out of Exeter and Newquay airports are subject to delay caused by problems at the national air traffic control centre in Hampshire. But the disruption is not as great as that being experienced at major terminals including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

At Exeter, a flight from Belfast due to land at 0820 is not expected until 1030. The Paris departure scheduled for 0845 is now not expected to leave until 1130. The service to Amsterdam which was due to take off at 1015 is now due to leave at 1105.

At Newquay, there are delays to services to and from Gatwick. But both Newquay and Exeter are advising passengers to check in as normal.

Statements on Exeter Airport deal

The Chairman of the Rigby Group, which has just acquired Exeter International Airport from Balfour Beatty says:

We believe in the importance of regional airports and of their value to the local and regional communities and of their important contribution and place in the local economies. We are intent on developing our aviation business, within the Rigby Group, and we have made a significant acquisition here, and recently with the acquisition of British International Helicopters. We now intend to consolidate both of these opportunities with a view to being a leading group in the sectors of regional airports and helicopter operations. Approximately 450 jobs are now sustained in our aerospace activities.

– Sir Peter Rigby, Chairman, The Rigby Group

The Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty says:

We are pleased to have come to an arrangement that ensures the future viability of the airport for its staff and the local community it serves.

– Andrew McNaughton, Chief Executive, Balfour Beatty
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