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Cornwall responds over airport closure

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Cornwall Council has responded to a critical report on the temporary closure of Newquay airport last year by repeating its apology for disruption to passengers, airlines and to local businesses.

“This was a failure of systems and processes - not individuals” said Cornwall’s chief executive Kevin Lavery.

“There is a now a new council with a new team of officers and elected members who are committed to learning from the mistakes identified in the report and creating a successful, environmentally sustainable and profitable airport for the people of Cornwall.”

Newquay Cornwall Airport closed for for 19 days in December 2008 on safety and licensing grounds when the Royal Air Force handed over responsibility.

The council says the investigation by John Mills took longer than anticipated to complete, with the council only receiving the final report earlier this month.

“The council is extremely grateful to Mr Mills for his hard work and accepts the findings of his report in full.

The report considered a number of issues, including the overall transition plan, project management, the financial impact of the closure, the council’s relationships with the MOD, the management of media issues and customer relations and its liaison with partners, including the airlines.

The council has drawn up an action plan to implement these recommendations, including:

  • Providing clearer organisation and accountability by setting up a separate Airport company with an independent Chairman
  • Reviewing its approach to risk and project management and corporate communications
  • Bringing commercial expertise into the running of the Airport by appointing new non executive directors with direct experience of the airline industry
  • Reducing the costs to local taxpayers by working towards achieving profitability within five years
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