The true cost of the ‘special relationship’! UK splashes out ‘at least £8million’ to lengthen the runway at Newquay airport so Joe Biden could land in Air Force One for G7 summit
- UK reportedly spent at least £7.8million on extending runway at Newquay airport
- Work was needed to ensure Air Force One and other US aircraft could land there
- There were concerns old facilities would be unable to cope with large aircraft
- Came after reports the cost of policing the G7 summit could be more than £70m
The UK splashed out more than £7.8million on extending the runway at Newquay airport to ensure Joe Biden could land on Air Force One, it was claimed today.
The US President and the First Lady, Jill Biden, jetted into Cornwall Airport Newquay shortly before 11.45pm on Wednesday.
But their grand arrival was apparently only made possible after the Government allocated millions of pounds to make sure the airport could cope with the large jet.
The UK splashed out more than £7.8million on extending the runway at Newquay airport to ensure Joe Biden could land on Air Force One, it was claimed today
The US President and the First Lady, Jill Biden, jetted into Cornwall Airport Newquay shortly before 11.45pm on Wednesday
One source told The Times that a total budget of £13million had been made available to ensure Air Force One could land at the strip.
The work was also necessary to make sure that a US military transporter plane carrying a fleet of Osprey aircraft could safely touchdown, according to the newspaper.
The cash for lengthening the runway was apparently made available by the Government after the local council warned the existing facilities would be unable to cope with the ‘needs of the aircraft types that will be arriving’.
The skies over Cornwall have been far busier than usual in recent days as world leaders and their entourages have been arriving in the county for the G7 summit which starts today and will finish on Sunday.
The summit represents a massive security operation for the hosting UK, with hundreds of troops being deployed to help more than 5,000 police officers.
Officers from across the country have been sent in to assist the local Devon and Cornwall force as they close roads and conduct security checkpoints.
There is also reportedly as many as 400 US Secret Service personnel who have flown in for the event.
The final bill for policing the summit is only likely to emerge many months after it has finished.
But a report by The Guardian suggested it could be at least £70million if this G7 follows the pattern of previous UK-hosted events.
The G8 meeting in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, in 2013 saw £75million spent on security – the overwhelming majority of the overall bill of £92million.
The G8 summit held at Gleneagles in Scotland in 2005 had a similar policing bill, coming in at £72million.
Air Force One is pictured parked at the RAF St Mawgan air base in Newquay on June 10
The work to extend the runway was also necessary to make sure that a US military transporter plane carrying a fleet of Osprey aircraft (pictured flying over St Ives on June 7) could safely touchdown
HMS The Prince of Wales, one of the UK’s two new aircraft carriers, is pictured yesterday off the coast of St Ives, Cornwall
It is not just the skies above Cornwall which have welcomed some unusual guests in recent days, with the surrounding sea also busier than normal.
One of the UK’s two new aircraft carriers, HMS The Prince of Wales, was patrolling off the coast of St Ives yesterday.
Meanwhile the Royal Navy frigate, HMS Northumberland, has been positioned to use its radar to keep watch for potential threats from the air or sea as leaders meet in Carbis Bay.