The European Commission decided not to raise any objections to an additional public support, amounting to around £24.3 million in public funds coupled with £22.5 from EU funding, for the re-development of Newquay Cornwall Airport in the United Kingdom. This follows an earlier decision approving the development plan for the airport. Subsequently, additional investments and public support proved necessary. In today's decision, the Commission considers that this further funding does not call into question the overall compatibility of the measure with the common market.
The development plan for Newquay Cornwall Airport is aimed at the transition from a partially military to a fully civilian airport. In its previous decision of 23 October 2007, the Commission had found that this plan was fully compatible with the community rules as set out in the 2005 Airport Guidelines.
The Commission came to this conclusion because:
the construction and operation of the infrastructure met a clearly defined objective of general interest, notably the development of the Cornwall region;
the infrastructure development was necessary and proportional to the objective pursued by the UK authorities;
there were satisfactory medium-term prospects for use of the infrastructure;
all potential users had access to it in an equal and non-discriminatory manner; and
the development of trade was not affected to an extent contrary to the Community interest.
Subsequently, some unexpected changes were required in particular because of regulatory concerns raised by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. Further investments were thus needed in order to obtain a full civilian operating licence. These changes led to an increase both in the budget of the project, from £44.2 to £68.4 million, as well as in the contribution of public financing from the European Regional Development Fund and from national sources. However, the scope and objectives of the airport development plan remained unchanged.