The Aviation Centre will be part of Spaceport Cornwall’s Centre for Space Technologies (CST), a £5.8M development that includes a satellite integration and mission operations facility.

Willmott Dixon is set to play a key enabling role in the UK’s space programme, having been awarded a £2.3m contract to build an Aviation Centre at Newquay Airport.

Breaking ground in June, the Aviation Centre will be part of Spaceport Cornwall’s Centre for Space Technologies (CST), a £5.8M development that includes a satellite integration and mission operations facility. The Centre for Space Technologies will enable satellites to be integrated into rockets, ready to launch from Cornwall for 2022.

The Corserv Group has developed the feasibility and secured funding for the Aviation Centre and will manage the construction contract with delivery partner Wilmott Dixon – bringing colleagues from Cornwall Development Company, Cormac Facilities and Cornwall Airport Newquay together to facilitate the build and set a framework for future expansion at this crucial location in the heart of Cornwall.

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Government’s Getting Building Fund, the CST will deliver R&D workspace, a laboratory cleanroom, education outreach facility and collaboration space. It will be nationally unique development, bringing UK satellite companies, academia and other space businesses together in one place to develop innovations in satellite technologies.


Work begins at the Aviation Centre in Newquay, Cornwall. L-R: Graeme Scrimgeour (Cornwall Airport Newquay), Oli Richards (Willmott Dixon), Janice Starzyk (Virgin Orbit), Prof Mark Goodwin (Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP), Cllr Linda Taylor (Cornwall Council), Melissa Thorpe (Spaceport Cornwall), Peter Andrew and Cath Robinson (Corserv), Nigel Blackler (Cornwall Council), Pete Downes (Cornwall Airport Newquay) and Rob Woolcock (Willmott Dixon)

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said:

“I’m delighted that £1.5 million Government investment means construction on a new Aviation Centre can begin in Cornwall’s airport. This will bring new job opportunities and innovative projects to Cornwall, making the area a more desirable place to live and work. We’re levelling up towns and cities, boosting local economies and helping them to build back better from the pandemic.”

Corserv Group Managing Director, Cath Robinson commented:

“We are proud to have facilitated this exciting project that brings together a number of partners to deliver a new phase of growth at the Airport. The new Aviation Centre will provide opportunities for local and global tenants who require specialist provisions – specifically in the Aerospace industry. It also forms part of the Cornwall Airport Newquay’s development plan to create a licensed Spaceport and provide horizontal launch service operations from Cornwall.”

Cornwall Airport Newquay Managing Director, Pete Downes added:

“This is the first significant development at the Airport in the last 10 years, and will provide development potential that will bring investment, job opportunities and innovative new projects to Cornwall in this unique new space.”

Melissa Thorpe, Head of Spaceport Cornwall said:

“This is a huge step forward in our journey enabling us to deliver the first horizontal launch in Cornwall by 2022 and progressing the creation of a multi-user spaceport. The inclusion of the Centre of Space Technologies on site will be a valuable asset to Cornwall’s space cluster - helping accelerate the industry in the region even further.”

Councillor Linda Taylor, Leader of the Council said:

“The recent G7 Summit was a great opportunity to showcase Cornwall’s space ambitions with important announcements about the role Goonhilly is playing in deep space communication and the opportunity for the Prime Minister to see first-hand Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket at Spaceport Cornwall. Starting construction on the Aviation Centre marks another important step towards a UK satellite launch from Cornwall next year and builds on Virgin Orbit’s second successful launch earlier this week.”

Contractor Willmott Dixon has been appointed to lead the design and build of the centre, along with architect Stride Treglown. Located on the edge of the Airport, the centre will be an integral part of the Spaceport development.

Rob Woolcock, Willmott Dixon Director of Operations said:
“We are delighted to be involved in this project. It is an exciting time to working at Cornwall Airport Newquay and the team are looking forward to delivering the new Aviation Centre and helping position Cornwall as a key part of the national space programme.
“We are confident that the new building will be a great addition to the facilities at the Airport, ready to serve the exciting Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne system”

Professor Mark Goodwin, Vice Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which has invested £1.5m in the new facility through the Government’s Getting Building Fund, said:

“This is another step forward for Cornwall’s space economy and builds on facilities at Spaceport Cornwall and the world-class assets at Goonhilly Earth Station. During the G7 the LEP was able to brief the Prime Minister on the importance of growth sectors including space and data, renewable energy and the digital economy, and how we can work with Government to grow our economy and create well-paid jobs.”

The project is a collaboration between the Corserv Group, Cornwall Council, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, Cornwall Airport Newquay, Virgin Orbit and Goonhilly Earth Station.