Scottish airline Loganair has announced a new daily service from City of Derry Airport (CoDA) to Manchester after being awarded the Derry to London Stansted Public Service Obligation (PSO) on Thursday.
The company said it will start operating to London Stansted service from Wednesday, February 27, providing two services each weekday and on Sundays alongside a single Saturday flight.
On May 24, Loganair it will commence daily services to Manchester on board a 49-seat Embraer 145 jet aircraft.
The Scottish airline already provides service between Derry and Glasgow five days per week - having stepped in to safeguard the route following Ryanair’s withdrawal last year.
It has a long history of service at City of Derry Airport, and was the first airline to fly commercial services there back in April 1979.
Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s Managing Director said: “We’re extremely pleased to be selected to operate the essential Derry to Stansted air service following completion of a competitive tender process. I know the news about flybmi created great uncertainty, so we’re focused on recommencing operations as quickly as possible.”
“The route is an important link to London and the South East with a schedule which has been tailored to the needs of the business community – enabling a full day of work in the capital before an evening flight home. The weekend services will also be attractive to leisure passengers who can chose the length of a short break.”
“Our new Manchester route marks a further expansion of the airline’s destination map from Derry, building our relationship with the airport and providing even more choice to customers. With a robust economy and diverse cultural offering, we’re excited to connect the two cities.”
The Unite trade union, meanwhile, has welcomed the new carrier's appointment after Flybmi fell into administration at the weekend.
Gareth Scott, Regional Officer for Unite, said: “This evening’s announcement came after workers left City of Derry early today but will be a huge relief to those who feared for their jobs as a consequence of the fact that BMI Regional (Flybmi) had gone into administration over the weekend. The Stansted service is central to the long-term viability of the City of Derry airport.
“Given the fact that an airline has agreed to take on the Derry-Stansted route and the confirmation that its PSO status will be extended to 2021, this represents a tremendous platform for future growth.
"This provides the perfect spring-board for City of Derry to seek additional flights into the airport and securing its place as a leading regional air-hub. This is good news for Derry/Londonderry and for the northwest in particular."