Four of Europe’s most beautiful cities have been opened up direct to people in the Cambridge area – thanks to a deal between Marshall’s and a Swiss-based airline.
Darwin Airline is to launch scheduled flights from Cambridge to Amsterdam, Paris, Milan and Geneva.
Fifty flights will take to the air every week – 24 to and from Amsterdam, 12 to and from Paris, eight to and from Milan, and six to and from Geneva, where Darwin is based.
News of the international air travel boost was announced at a press conference led by Marshall chief executive Robert Marshall, together with senior executives from the airline.
Chief commercial officer Christian Schneider said the reason the airline had chosen Cambridge as its UK base was that the city was “a perfect fit”.
He said: “Cambridge has the fastest growing economy in the UK, and a very interesting regional catchment area – a population of six million potential customers living within a 60 to 90 minute drive of the airport.
“We expect to carry 80,000 people a year from Cambridge to these major European cities, both for pleasure and business.”
The flights were welcomed by Steve Jones, managing director of Aviation Services, who said: “The opening of this new and exciting base by Darwin Airline is a strategic step in our development of Cambridge as a regional international airport. This puts our city firmly on the international transport map, making it easier for people from around the world to get here.”
But Cllr Jean Swanson, the city council’s executive councillor for environmental and waste services said that while she welcome initiatives that support the Cambridge economy, she was “concerned” there had ben no detailed talks about the flights between the airport and the council.
She said: “I am concerned that Cambridge Airport has not yet discussed the detailed proposals with the city council so that we can be certain that these changes, and future plans, do not create unacceptable environmental implications for the residents of the city. I am seeking an urgent meeting with Cambridge Airport to discuss their proposals.”
Marshall’s say all the new flights will take place during the day and no night flying is planned.
Alex Plant, executive director for economy, transport and environment at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Cambridgeshire already competes on the world stage and is home to a wealth of innovative companies, cutting-edge research and the best university in the world. The new services from Cambridge Airport will help to build our already strong international brand. Direct connections to key business centres and international hub airports like Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles De Gaulle will help our businesses to continue to grow and will complement the investments we are already making to support growth in the local and national economy.
“It is also welcome news that aircraft will not be flying at night and that the airport has plans in place to ensure there is minimal impact on local residents.”
Flights are due to begin in September, and follow news that recently introduced summer services to Jersey have taken off in a big way, with advance bookings up 75 per cent this year.
More details about the new flights, with fares starting from £119 per person each way and £159 return, are available online at www.darwinairline.com.