9:26pm Monday 10th February 2014
© Press Association 2014
The Government will subsidise flights out of a Cornish airport in an effort to help maintain transport links with the county, which lost its train connection to London in the floods.
David Cameron announced a £5 reduction in the cost of tickets for domestic flights from Newquay, with the Government effectively paying the airport development levy usually imposed on departing passengers.
The saving will be delivered through a Government grant to the airport's owner Cornwall Council and will take effect from Wednesday for at least two weeks.
The damage to the train line at Dawlish, which cut rail links between London and Cornwall, could take up to six weeks to repair, Network Rail has said.
Additional flights between Newquay and Gatwick have been scheduled by Flybe over the next fortnight, with a larger aircraft also being deployed.
Flybe will double the number of weekday flights it offers between Newquay and Gatwick from three services a day to six during an initial two-week period whilst demand for the new schedule is monitored and assessed, the airline said.
Paul Simmons, the airline's chief commercial officer said: "Flybe fully appreciates the enormous economic cost to the region of losing its rail services, an untenable situation that looks likely to impact the region severely for at least six weeks and possibly even longer.
"Flybe's regional model means that, at this time of travel crisis which is placing huge pressure on the West Country's industry and commerce sectors and on leisure and business travel, we are well placed to be able to step in quickly and provide a fast and convenient travel solution.
"We also commit to maintaining our normal pricing mechanism. We have no wish to take advantage of this very difficult situation by inflating fares and can assure our customers that our fares' policy will be managed in exactly the same way as always."
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