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BA CityFlyer Announces Expansion of U.K. Regional Services
British Airways will be expanding its regional network next summer when the airline’s CityFlyer brand will operate services from Southampton airport to destinations in France, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Scotland and Germany. The announcement will provide a boost to the U.K. south coast airport which has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the collapse of Flybe earlier this year which accounted for 90% of Southampton airport’s flights.
Steve Szalay, Operations Director at Southampton Airport, said that the announcement was “great to see BA return to the airport once again and the range of excellent destinations on offer is sure to be a welcome early Christmas present for passengers looking to plan a European holiday next summer.”
With leisure travel and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) demand expected to dominate the commercial aviation industry recovery BA CityFlyer will operate up to 17 flights each weekend between 1 May and 31 October to holiday destinations. Malaga, Florence, Faro, Mykonos, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Bergerac Dordogne Périgord, Limoges–Bellegarde, Nice Côte d’Azur, Edinburgh and Berlin are the destinations available to travelers.
Managing Director of BA CityFlyer Tom Stoddart said, “This is an exciting opportunity for the British Airways family. The ideal location of the airport and excellent facilities on offer will hugely benefit our customers along the South Coast as they plan to take to the skies again and book a well-deserved holiday in the sun.”
BA CityFlyer is a subsidiary of BA and operates with a predominantly Embraer 190 fleet of aircraft from London City airport with seasonal flying from U.K. regional airports and in 2016 the addition of services from London Stansted airport. The airline had seen significant growth pre-Covid with passengers carried increasing from 800,000 in 2009 to 2.8 million in 2019.
With a network built around business and frequent travelers within the U.K. and Europe, BA CityFlyer has seen a significant reduction in services from London City airport since the pandemic. The airport was closed for several months and with fluctuating travel restrictions imposed by the U.K. government and European authorities, only limited services have resumed since the summer.
From 14 December the airline is scheduled to increase frequency to five destinations from London City airport with a combined total of 18 services. However, the possibility of a delay in the return of the high value, high yield passenger market segment and uncertain impacts of the Brexit trade deal may have a further negative effect on BA CityFlyer’s recovery and the wider U.K. aviation industry. According to the Guardian the European Union and the U.K. failing to reach a trade agreement would result in a ‘no-deal’ Brexit which could mean that U.K. airlines may face disruptions to European operations.
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