Every effort must be made to block this sale
I FEEL there have been a lot of negative opinions expressed in Your Say recently regarding Plymouth Airport, rather than facts
Since moving to the South Hams 27 years ago I have used the airlines from Plymouth Airport (and likewise so did many colleagues) for business and pleasure. This was initially with Brymon Airways, Isles of Scilly Skybus, then British Airways and in due course Air Southwest. On all the flights, the aircraft were always well filled.
In my view, an airline link from Plymouth is still very much required by city companies as well as the many other people in the Plymouth catchment area who used the airport for holidays. If Plymouth wishes to attract new industry and business it must have good communications, otherwise these will go to Exeter. Plymouth will run the risk of even more companies moving away.
Scheduled airline services have operated from Plymouth Airport since April 1933. A 46-page Master Plan for the future of the airport was produced by the Airport Director in October 2008. part of which read: "This Master Plan outlines the proposed development of Plymouth City Airport in a number of phases. The first phases of development aim to enhance existing services by investing in and re-locating some of the existing airport facilities".
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Viable propose to reopen the airport initially as a category 3 airport, as this will reduce the overhead operating costs. The Business Plan is for a new airline to operate from Plymouth using twin propjet airliners that can operate from a category 3 airport.
It is not only the number of passengers who used the scheduled air services provided by Air SouthWest that affect the need for the airport and its viability. Plymouth Flying School was based there and the Air Ambulance helicopters, the air sea rescue helicopters and police helicopters all used the airport. These all contributed to the operating costs of running the airport in landing fees, hangerage fees and purchase of aviation fuel.
As for the America's Cup event last September, without the airport there would have been nowhere for the support/filming helicopters and aircraft to land near Plymouth. Any future events at Plymouth such as the America's Cup would be unlikely without the airport.
The opportunities to improve rail services from London to Plymouth and Penzance are limited by the terrain that the railway follows from Exeter. Added to this, the vagaries of the weather along the coast at Dawlish and Teignmouth can also affect the existing timing of trains.
All this says to me that every effort must be made to prevent the sale of the airport equipment and that it should be re-opened for the future prosperity of Plymouth and surrounding area.
E W LAWRENCE