Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Doncaster to New York flights

It follows an agreement with Irish national airline Aer Lingus which will also see daily flights from between Doncaster and Dublin.

BOSSES at Robin Hood Airport are predicting 40 per cent passenger growth next year after securing a deal to offer a Doncaster to New York flights.

The airline will operate what is known as a hub service from Doncaster to New York.

Passengers will change in Dublin, where they will go through US immigration so they can go straight from their plane into the city when the arrive in America. A service will also be available to Boston.

Bosses at the airport claim the combination of the deal with Aer Lingus and new flights due to arrive from easyjet will lead to a growth in passenger numbers next year of around 40 per cent, ending a period of falling numbers at Finningley.

Around 60,000 passengers had used the Doncaster to Dublin flights in the year before it was axed, making it the most popular route using
Finningley. It also brought inbound tourists, many using the racecourse.

The deal will see flights to Dublin available for the first time since Ryanair pulled its flights between the Irish capital and South Yorkshire in March 2009.

The flights are due to start on March 28.

Robin Hood Airport aviation sales director Nick Smillie said: "We had a Dublin service from Ryanair and we've working for several months to replace it with a regular service. This is with the Irish flag carrier.

"We have also been working hard to get a service that fed to a hub and provide onwards connections. You can buy the ticket in Doncaster, and then fly on to America on a single ticket.

"You will be able to buy a ticket from Doncaster to New York or Boston, and check you bags in all the way through. The other big benefit is that you can clear US immigration in Dublin."

The deal would potentially open up flights to other major long haul destinations on one ticket, but bosses at Robin Hood say some could involve long waits.

But the links to the New York and Boston could mean passengers could walk on to their plane in Doncaster and then on to the streets of New York within eight hours.

The new flights linking Doncaster to Dublin will be using small aircraft than before, known as ATR72s, carrying 72 people rather than the 160 seater jets Ryanair were operating.

The new services are part of a franchise agreement between Aer Lingus and Aer Arann and will be branded as Aer Lingus Regional.

Daniel Fell, Head of Chamber at Doncaster Chamber, said: "The announcement of new flights from Robin Hood Airport to Dublin is a great boost to the local economy, particularly those businesses operating in the tourism sector.

"Dublin is one of the top destinations for local business travellers and the new daily flights will be incredibly popular.

"Business confidence in Doncaster is currently significantly ahead of regional and national trends; Robin Hood Airport remains the most significant development in Doncaster and South Yorkshire for decades, its continued growth and status as a key economic asset for the borough will help Doncaster stay ahead of the curve for years to come.

Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller said: "This franchise agreement is good news for all stakeholders in Aer Lingus as it will allow us to serve key regional destinations, linking them with our Dublin transatlantic network as well as offering our business and leisure customers improved schedule and frequency options."

"It is now critical that the infrastructure necessary for the growth of the airport is delivered."