The first Loganair flight between City of Derry and London Stansted touched down this morning, 11 days after former route operator Flybmi went into administration.
Loganair was appointed last week to operate the subsidised Public Service Obligation (PSO) route following emergency talks between officials from City of Derry Airport, its owners Derry City & Strabane District Council and senior figures within the Department of Transport, which is providing funding towards the route, and the European Union.
The inaugural service set-off at 7.05am, after a short ceremony at the airport sound-tracked by a traditional Scottish piper and attended by Loganair’s managing director, Jonathan Hinkles.
A return service from London Stansted arrived into Derry at 10.35am and both trips were operated by a 49-seat Embraer 145 aircraft.
Loganair is providing two services each weekday and on Sundays alongside a single Saturday flight as part of the Derry City and Strabane District Council PSO contract.
It is the airline’s second route from City of Derry Airport, adding to its Glasgow to Derry service which launched last October. The carrier also recently announced a daily schedule to Manchester, again on board at 49-seat Embraer 145 jet aircraft.
Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s managing director said: “We are very pleased to be able to continue the vital air link between Derry and London Stansted.
“Bookings have extremely been positive which only re-enforces how important this route is to the region. We look forward to building on a successful start with the new Derry to Manchester schedule starting the May 24.
“Both Stansted and Manchester will operate on our Embraer 145 jet aircraft, and with our existing Glasgow service brings the total routes served by Loganair from Derry to three.”
Lead-in fares between Derry and London Stansted begin at £39.99 with tickets to Manchester priced the same. All reservations include 20kg of complimentary hold luggage and passengers are eligible to join Loganair’s loyalty programme, Clan Loganair.
Airport Manager at City of Derry Airport, Charlene Shongo, outlined: “The double daily service between City of Derry Airport and London Stansted, (exception Saturday when there is one service) has already proven very popular with business and leisure travellers throughout the North West with Loganair indicating strong sales to date.
Mrs Shongo concluded: “City of Derry Airport is a vital piece of transport infrastructure and is the airport of choice for the North West of Ireland, offering both convenience and excellent customer service. I would encourage all travellers to ‘Fly Local and Choose CoDA’ when making future travel arrangements. We have fantastic facilities on our doorstep, and it is essential everyone takes advantage of their local airport for future air travel where possible.”
Mark Souter, London Stansted’s Head of Aviation Development said:“We are delighted to today welcome Loganair’s inaugural flight from the City of Derry Airport to London Stansted. The service provides quick and convenient access to the vibrant and fast growing London-Stansted-Cambridge economic corridor as well as connections to a network of 200 destinations, including daily flights with Emirates to its Dubai hub. “The route is a vital gateway enabling passengers and businesses in this part of Northern Ireland to take full advantage of the opportunities Stansted provides, as well as boosting trade and tourism in this fantastic region with many business and leisure passengers visiting the City and enjoying the beautiful scenery of north west Northern Ireland.”
Tickets can be booked online at www.loganair.co.uk or by calling 0344 800 2855.