XR 'elves' tape up Newquay Airport in protest against new Cornwall to London flights

They are protesting the new airline route being launched between Cornwall and London.

A group of Extinction Rebellion protesters gathered at Cornwall Airport dressed as elves to oppose the launch of a new airline connecting Newquay to London Gatwick.

Around 60 protesters taped up the doors to Newquay Airport and sang 'climate- themed' carols as they demonstrated today (15 December).

Their demonstration follows the launch of a new year-round Newquay to London Gatwick service by Eastern Airways, which restores one of Cornwall's connections to the capital.

The protesters sang songs outside the airport.

One of the organisers, Chris Bird, said the "completely peaceful protest" aimed to "draw attention to unsustainable flights and the obscene waste of council tax payers money used to subsidise airlines".

However Eastern Airways' managing director Adam Wheatley said London is the "vital, missing piece in the jigsaw of connectivity" and the flights will be fuelled with 'sustainable aviation fuel' (SAF) as part of the airline's commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Wheatley added the company expects to employ more staff to support the route as the service grows.

The new route has been backed by government.

The launch of the route has also been backed by Cornwall Council.

A spokesperson said: "This Public Service Obligation (PSO) service not only protects Cornwall’s links with London, contributes to the Government’s levelling up agenda for Cornwall and offers opportunities for investments in the local economy, it also ensures connectivity for business and residents as an alternative to a five-hour plus journey by road for those who need it.

"While connectivity is vital, we have sought to minimise the impact of air travel on the environment. 

"The council has worked with all parties to ensure that the environmental impact of the air route is kept to a minimum by selecting aircraft which have lower emissions and lower noise impacts, as well as aligning schedules to ensure capacity meets demand."