Spaceport Cornwall budget cut by £5m to help Newquay Airport recover through pandemic

  • Report by Grace Pascoe


Cornwall Council have today (Wednesday, 16 September) voted unanimously to move £5.6m from Spaceport to Cornwall Airport Newquay.

Cabinet members agreed the priority needed to be given to supporting the airport after costs incurred through the pandemic.

£12m had originally been allocated for the Spaceport Cornwall project back in 2019. At the time it was hoped satellites could be launched from Newquay into space by next year.

Virgin Orbit has successfully tested the modified Boeing 747 aircraft known as 'Cosmic Girl'. Credit: Credit: Virgin Orbit

What is Spaceport Cornwall?


The UK Government and Cornwall Council are investing in creating a spaceport in Cornwall at Newquay Airport where Sir Richard Branson plans to launch his Virgin Orbit satellites.

The intention is to despatch rockets to space from under the wing of a converted Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet.

Spaceport Cornwall will be the name of the base where this can take place, at Newquay Airport.


The proposal now is to divert £5.6m from the Spaceport budget to help Newquay Airport recover after the pandemic.

The situation was brought about by the double impact, first of all the demise of FlyBe and secondly Covid-19 where we went into lockdown, the impact has been devastating for airports across the country. We’re recovering from two impacts almost simultaneously and a conservative estimate suggests that in the next 2 years we’ll need 5.6 million pounds to keep the airport going.

Cllr Geoff Brown, Cabinet member for Transport, Cornwall Council

Cornwall Council says it is "fully committed to the Spaceport but that an operational airport is the first priority and that it is essential to maintain the airport as the Spaceport project would be based on the site."