The Commission adopted today a decision approving under State aid rules a number of measures providing for the public financing of infrastructure developments at Newquay Cornwall Airport in the South West of England. The redevelopment of this small regional airport is expected to cost some £44 million (€65 million) of which £19.5 million will be made up of Community funds. The remainder of the investment will come from public funding agencies in the UK and through borrowing. The Commission found the financing compatible with the common market as it allows the construction of essential infrastructure designed to achieve a clearly defined objective of general interest without leading to undue distortion of the market.
Newquay Cornwall Airport is located on the north coast of Cornwall and is a "small regional airport" for the purposes of the Community guidelines (less than 1 million passengers a year). The airport which is and will continue to be owned by Cornwall County Council ("CCC") currently forms a civil enclave within a military airbase (RAF St Mawgan). In November 2005, the British Ministry of Defence announced that military flying operations at the airport would cease, the public investment covered by today's Commission decision is designed to ensure a smooth transition from military to civilian airfield operations, enabling civilian operations at the airport to continue.
The primary motivations of the public authorities in making these public investments in Newquay Cornwall Airport are to improve connectivity and regional development. It is also their intention to provide Cornwall with a modern, safe and viable airport. Cornwall together with the Isles of Scilly forms one of the four areas in the UK which the Commission has designated as areas eligible for the award of national State aid for regional development which is compatible with the common market. [23 October 07]