FlyPlymouth is launched with plan to reopen Plymouth Airport within two years.

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With a credible and independently audited plan, FlyPlymouth looks set to reopen Plymouth Airport.

Viable’s three and a half year campaign to save Plymouth airport came to end this evening with the launch of FlyPlymouth, a new entity created to reopen the airport and reintroduce air passenger services.

Following a recent visit to the airport by the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLaughlin, who said “The door was open to government support for the airport,” there has been growing political and public momentum for the Airport to be brought back into use.

“Viable set out in 2011 to carry the flag for those who wished to see Plymouth rethink its approach to air connectivity. The objective was to save Plymouth airport from redevelopment and now that objective has been largely achieved with the airport’s protection in the Plymouth Plan.”

Speaking to a packed meeting at the University of St Mark and St John, Raoul Witherall, FlyPlymouth’s Chief Executive set out the company’s vision to see the airport reopened within two years and a new airline created within three. “It is time now for Plymouth to focus on reopening its airport and connecting with the world. For this we need a new vehicle, one that can deliver on reopening the airport; creating a new airline and partnering together with Plymouth to achieve this. FlyPlymouth is that vehicle.”

“FlyPlymouth is a locally-based social enterprise focused on providing aviation services. Being constituted as a company limited by guarantee means that profits will be recycled into the business rather than being extracted by private shareholders. We are seeking a short lease rather than securing freehold interests which have the potential to destabilise the business. These factors will contribute to a sustainable solution that is right for Plymouth airport.”

Asked why FlyPlymouth would succeed where others had given up, Richard Crocker, FlyPlymouth’s Chief Operating Officer explained that “Rather than going for another low cost volume model, our plans for the airport and airline are adapted to the facilities that exist and needs of the proven passenger market. We have a stepped plan that is designed to be profitable at each stage.”

“By 2018, a new airline will provide daily services to a range of destinations including London,” he said. Both London Heathrow and Gatwick airports have recently expressed interest in supporting the reopening of Plymouth airport.

FlyPlymouth will raise £150,000 seed money over the coming months to deliver essential pre-revenue work. Funded largely out of business and private contributions, this will enable vital preparation such as detailed business planning, due diligence and legal support required to reopen the airport.

The airport and airline business plans themselves are to be financed through a separate multi-million pound package accessed at a later stage once the business has secured a lease.

FlyPlymouth has now launched its website and has started a Crowdfunder campaign to raise some of the seed capital

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Raoul Witherall
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