EXETER is to start a direct flight service to London with tickets, at unde £40, on sale now.
Exeter-based airline Flybe has signed a five year agreement with London City Airport for a three times daily city-to-city service.
The flights to the heart of the metropolis take off on October 27 .
The new schedule will see the first flight arrive at London City before the first commuter train into Paddington.
With fast track security at Exeter Airport for all customers travelling to London City, and a flight time of just 70 minutes. Currently, it can take anywhere between 2h09m and 3h32m to travel to Paddington, on what more often than not, can be extremely crowded trains.
The new flights have been welcomed by civic and business leaders in Exeter, with city council leader Peter Edwards, saying: "Fantastic" andand Derek Phillips, vice president of the city's chamber of commerce saying it was great news and another string to Exeter's bow.
Saad Hammad, Flybe’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Today’s news is a significant landmark in the re-birth of Flybe. As a proudly based Exeter business, we’re delighted to be able to give our Devon customers what they have long been asking for – direct flights from Exeter right into the very heart of London.
“We have taken into consideration how appealing London City is for business travellers looking to be in central London in time for morning meetings, as well as getting home in time to put the kids to bed.
“Flybe is today already connecting over 7 million passengers a year throughout the UK and Europe. With this first ever new major London connection from Exeter, we are not only cementing our position as Europe’s largest regional airline but also upholding our customer promise to be quicker than rail or road - ‘The Fastest Way from A to Flybe’.”
Exeter Airport’s owner Sir Peter Rigby, said: “This route announcement further cements Exeter Airport’s vital role in connecting the heart of the South West and driving the regional economy. The link to London City in particular is a hugely welcome development, especially following the disruption we have seen to the rail network, and we know the ability to connect swiftly into the heart of London will be warmly received by the business community.”
Matt Roach, Exeter Airport’s Managing Director added: “We welcome this excellent news of a new route from Exeter which will benefit the whole of the South West and we wish the airline every success. Our customer feedback has for many years had a link to London at the top of the wish-list, so we would expect that Flybe’s new service to the centre of the capital will be well supported.”
One way fares from Exeter including taxes and charges start from £34.99 and are on sale now at flybe.com
The new flights are part of a big Flybe expansion which will see it deploy five aircraft based at three centre for new daily services from/to Edinburgh and Dublin, three times daily services from/to Belfast and twice daily from/to Inverness.
As well as providing a major boost for Exeter businesses, Flybe expects the new routes will also appeal to a significant number of City and Canary Wharf-based passengers who need to access the UK regions and neighbouring European destinations quickly and efficiently.
Saad Hammad, Flybe’s chief executive officer, said: “Today’s announcement is a significant landmark in the re-birth of Flybe.
“ We are delighted to re-enter the London market at London’s most convenient airport following a rigorous profitability analysis utilising our strict route assessment model.
“Dedicating five growth aircraft initially to these new routes is a major statement of intent and we look forward to building a successful and growing presence there over the coming years.
“Flybe is today already connecting over seven million passengers a year across the UK and Europe. With a major London connection, we reaffirm our place as the UK’s largest regional airline.”
Declan Collier, Chief Executive Officer, London City Airport, confirmed the importance of the arrival of Flybe at the airport.
He said: “Flybe will bring an immediate uplift of up to half a million new passengers to the airport. In addition, Flybe’s selection of routes serves to cement further LCY’s status as the business traveller’s airport of choice, underpinned by our ‘location, convenience and speed’ customer propositions.
“We look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
More information about these routes will be announced in the coming weeks. Flights between LCY and Edinburgh, Belfast City, Dublin, Inverness and Exeter are now on sale at flybe.com
The agreement is a major step forward in meeting the Group’s stated strategic objective to expand its branded scheduled commercial operation by developing new routes and bases within the UK following its successful fund raise of £150 million last month.