The Government is offering tens of millions in ‘start up’ cash to regional airports in an attempt to develop new routes.
The £56m Regional Air Connectivity Fund, is open to bids from airports with fewer than 5 million passengers per year and can cover three years of financial support.
A tranche of £17.5m is being made available to bids in 2015/16 and around £20m a year for each of the following two years.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: ‘I created the Regional Air Connectivity Fund because, as a Highlander, I appreciate the immense value of regional air routes to people living in remote communities across the UK.
‘This fund has already supported valuable services like Newquay’s London route, which has a return of 2.5 for every pound invested, making it great value for taxpayers too. I hope this further funding will help other areas sustain economically important connections too.’
Many local airports, like Newquay, are owned by local councils and have difficulties turning a profit.
Applications to the fund must provide evidence of how the proposed route will generate local benefits and represents value for money.
The deadline to apply is Wednesday 25 February with a shortlist announced in June.