Devon

Plymouth City Airport: Air ambulance joins 'keep open' campaign

Plymouth Airport
Image caption The owners say the airport is heading for a £1m loss over the next year

A Devon rescue service has joined a campaign group to try to stop the closure of Plymouth City Airport.

The Devon Air Ambulance Trust said it relied on the site to land safely at night and used the airport when Derriford Hospital's helipad was busy.

In August, operator Sutton Harbour Group (SHG) said it would shut the site to all air traffic in December.

The charity said if it closed it would have an impact, but it would not stop the air ambulance providing a service.

The trust's chief executive, Nigel Hare, said the airport was the only place in Plymouth where it could refuel its aircraft and land at night.

'Viable plan'

"If the airport does close there are some occasions where in the patients best interests, it might be best for us to work with the South Western Ambulance Service and take the patients by land rather than fly them.

"It will have an impact on us, it won't stop us providing the service, but I think it's only right that we let people know there are some implications when talks are taking place," Mr Hare added.

In 2010 the charity said it took just under 200 patients to Derriford Hospital.

Campaign group Viable says its aim is to build a "present and viable plan" for the airport's future.

The group consists of business leaders and aviation industry figures, as well as the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

SHG said the airport, which employs 56 people, was facing a £1m loss over the next year.

It added the airport had suffered "significant losses in recent years", blaming the economic downturn and "challenges for the UK regional aviation market".

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