Cornwall Council’s head of finance has said that Cornwall Airport Newquay is “not a viable company at the moment” as it looks at how to address its current financial crisis.
It was also revealed that if a bailout is needed, it could affect plans for the spaceport.
The airport has seen a dramatic drop in income this year due to the double hit of the collapse of regional airline FlyBe and the coronavirus pandemic.
And this week Cornwall councillors heard from the authority’s top finance officer who said that it was “not a viable company”.
The admission came at a meeting of the council’s customer and support services overview and scrutiny committee.
It follows councillor Stephen Rushworth asking what the situation was with the airport and whether the council would have to provide financial support to keep it open.
He said that the airport was important for Cornwall and that there was concern about its future.
Tracie Langley, the council’s chief operating officer, said that the council was asking the Government to provide financial support to help the airport but said that, to date, the Government had only offered to provide a loan.
Ms Langley said: “Cornwall Airport Limited is not a viable company at the moment.”
She said that while the Government offered a loan that was not what was wanted by the council, and that the council had its own ability to secure a loan if necessary.
She added that as the airport itself was not currently viable it would not be able to secure a loan on its own.
Last month the council’s Cabinet agreed that it would use £5.6million of £10.2m of funding which has been earmarked for Spaceport Cornwall to bail out the airport if it was unable to secure funding from the Government.
Ms Langley told the committee: “If our Cabinet believe that they want to make cash available to the airport because the Government has not been able to help they have already made it known that they will utilise the money we have for the spaceport.”
Councillor Rushworth said that he appreciated the problem but said that the Government may not be able to help.
He said: “We have to appreciate that we are not the only ones in the country and the Government has different priorities.
“I think they can’t pay us and not anybody else. I think it will be a while before any money comes from the Government.”
He asked Ms Langley if Corserv, the council owned company responsible for the airport, would be able to obtain a loan to help the airport.
She replied: “It would be acceptable but they have the same problem in that Cornwall Airport Limited is not viable because of the problems they have at the moment.”
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