The facility’s projected figures bring it close to its busiest-ever year.

Cornwall Airport Newquay Runway
Photo: Cornwall Airport Newquay

The last few years have been challenging for smaller airports, with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic sometimes reducing their traffic to almost nothing. However, these facilities are nothing if not resilient, and their recovery efforts are now beginning to show. Cornwall Airport Newquay (NQY) is a key example of this.

Traffic more than doubled last year

As the facility explained in a statement published last year, one of the aspects that leaves it well-placed to bounce back strongly in 2023 is the fact that it already did so last year. Indeed, its passenger numbers grew by almost 150,000 in 2022 to an annual total of just over 250,000. This represented a year-on-year increase of 138%. The airport’s Head of Commercial, Amy Smith, explained that:

“2022 was a fantastic year for us, seeing the airport return to a busy schedule of 115 weekly flights at the peak of the summer season, but this year is when we expect to see close to our record year in 2019 with a predicted 78% increase in passenger traffic.”

Newquay Airport Aer Lingus SAS Tails

Photo: Cornwall Airport Newquay

This increase is set to bring Newquay Airport’s annual total this time around to some 450,000 passengers. Compared with 2019’s record high, which data from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority put at 461,478 passengers, this is very close indeed. A key factor in this projected recovery has been the addition of new routes.

A growing network

Indeed, Newquay Airport lists seven new or returning routes for this year, which serve both domestic and international destinations. The former of these categories will see the Cornish facility connected with Belfast City, East Midlands, Edinburgh, and London Stansted, while, further afield, there are links to Copenhagen, Dublin, and Malaga. Commenting on Newquay’s network, Smith added:

“Having concentrated on ensuring our customers have not only a choice of different destinations but also a variety of airlines on certain routes, we’re pleased to be able to offer a selection of services as we see multiple airlines recognize the demand from our catchment.”

Newquay Airport Terminal

Photo: Cornwall Airport Newquay

The airport considers the Dublin link to be a particularly exciting prospect, given that passengers can use the service to connect onto long-haul flights to North American destinations in the Irish capital. Alongside this and the other new and returning routes, Newquay has existing international links to Alicante (Ryanair), Düsseldorf (Eurowings), Faro (Ryanair), and Zürich (Edelweiss Air).

Airlines are expanding their schedules

Ryanair’s addition of new routes from Newquay to both domestic and international destinations shows its confidence in the Cornish facility as a steady destination. Indeed, compared to last year, it will operate almost 60% more flights into and out of Newquay, with its peak schedules amounting to over 25 weekly flights.

Meanwhile, Eastern Airways is also set to increase its presence at Newquay Airport this year, with the addition of flights to and from East Midlands Airport next month. These will operate daily, alongside enhanced schedules on its existing routes from the Cornish facility to both London Gatwick and Humberside Airport.

Sources: Civil Aviation Authority, Cornwall Airport Newquay

  • Newquay Airport
    Six international routes will operate into Newquay. Photo: Getty Images

    Cornwall Newquay Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    United Kingdom

    Sam O’Dwyer

    Passenger Count :
    105,554 (2021)

    Runways :
    12/30 – 2,744m (9,000ft)


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