SUMMER might seem some way off, but airlines are already gearing up for the peak season with a number of new France-UK routes announced.
Jet2 has opened a new base at Glasgow International Airport and is preparing to launch a Nice-Glasgow route from March 2011. New links from Brive (Dordogne Valley) to Manchester, and from Toulouse to Newcastle, will open in May. Another new addition to the schedule is a link from Chambéry to East Midlands airport, which will run through the winter until the end of March.
Jet2 chief executive Philip Meeson, said: “Despite it being a challenging economic climate, which has seen both airlines and tour operators failing, we are excited about 2011, with our new base opening at Glasgow, new destinations, new routes, additional aircraft and new staff joining the team.”
CityJet has extended its Deauville to London City route to run all year round, from January 7, becoming Normandy’s first regular air link to the UK. Flights will run three times a week, with a fourth weekly flight planned over the peak summer period.
CityJet chief executive Christine Ourmières said: “There has been very positive feedback to our reinstatement of Deauville. It’s clear that this is a year-round destination. While it’s mainly a leisure destination from the UK, inbound traffic from Deauville to London has a strong business focus. This, combined with high demand from second home owners with investments in Normandy and the large British expat community in the region, means the popularity of this upmarket getaway is assured.”
A number of additional flights between Brive (Dordogne Valley) and London City Airport are to be operated by CityJet in February for halfterm travellers. They are on February 18, 20, 25 and 27.
Flybe has announced three new routes from Southampton to Béziers, Clermont-Ferrand and Pau, to run between May and September. It has also begun a year-round service from Nantes to Manchester, offering four return flights a week.
Flybe chiefcommercial officer Mike Rutter said: “We are pleased to announce these three new routes to France from Southampton that complement our 10 existing routes for those travelling to and from regional France.”
Ryanair has scaled back its French operation recently, with the closure of its base at Marseille-Provence airport, but is expecting a busy summer season at Beauvais, north of Paris. The airport has opened a second terminal dedicated to budget flights, to cope with increased traffic from Ryanair, Wizz Air and Blue Air. The €12m terminal more than doubles the airport’s capacity. Beauvais is expecting to carry 2.5 million passengers this summer, with 37 routes confirmed including Ryanair’s regular links to Dublin, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Easyjet launched a Lyon to Bristol route shortly before Christmas and will start flights from Grenoble to Liverpool on January 8.
BMI Baby has begun selling tickets on some of its most popular French summer routes, with more to be confirmed soon. The first routes on sale include Birmingham and East Midlands to Nice and Manchester to Bordeaux, Lourdes, Perpignan and Toulouse.
Aer Lingus has launched a new three-times-a-week service between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Shannon. Books are currently being taken up to the end of March.
British Airways has begun a winter route from London City to Chambéry.