Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cheap Leeds-London flights

Rosie Winterton MP, Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber, was at Leeds Bradford International Airport for the announcement that Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline, was launching a new three times daily flights to the capital.

THE Minister for Yorkshire has welcomed the news that flights from Leeds to London will be taking off again this summer.

The airline has stepped in to reconnect Yorkshire travellers with the flights between the Yorkshire airport and London Gatwick following rival bmi's decision in March to axe its flights to London Heathrow.

She said: "Regular and dependable flights between Leeds Bradford and London are very important for our region's economy.

"I warmly welcome the launch of Flybe's new service to this region, which I know will be well received, particularly by the business community."

Loss of a direct airlink to the capital had been seen as a worrying economic setback for the region.

Flybe said it would provide a "business-friendly schedule that will hugely benefit the regional economies of Yorkshire and the Humber, as a result, creating up to 130 jobs for the region and adding 20 direct Flybe jobs at Gatwick" when it starts on June 29.

Fares on the new service, on an environmentally efficient, state-of-the-art Bombardier Q400, will start at £24.99 one way, including taxes and charges.

Mike Rutter, chief commercial officer for Flybe, said: "Air services from London Gatwick to Leeds Bradford are of great strategic importance to Yorkshire and the North and we're delighted to be able to fill the gap and introduce flights to London so soon after bmi abandoned their service."

Leeds Bradford announced in February that the bmi service would end on March 28.

It followed a demand from the airline for reduced landing fees in Leeds to offset spiralling costs at Heathrow.

The airline carried 62,000 departing passengers on its four-times daily service in 2008, but by the end of last year had reduced capacity on the route in response to market conditions.

It said a decline in demand and higher-than-inflation cost increases at Heathrow meant the routes had become unsustainable.

Leeds Bradford chiefs refused to renegotiate, saying they believed the route was profitable for bmi.

Last week, Leeds City councillors deferred their decision on a planned £28m expansion of the airport because the blueprint failed to adequately address transport issues