Flybe to start “up to 3 flights per day” between Liverpool and Schiphol for links to destinations across the world

Regional airline Flybe will be starting flights between Liverpool and Schiphol (Amsterdam) from September 7th 2015. From Schiphol, passengers can transfer to a range of long haul destinations, avoiding having to fly to Heathrow in order to transfer. There will be up to three flights per day.  The airport says: “Details of which airlines passengers will be able to connect onwards with will be announced shortly, but flights are expected to coincide with onward connections at Amsterdam to destinations such as New York, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai and Toronto.”  Interlining is crucial to the route’s success.  Re-establishing the link to Amsterdam is a cause for celebration for the airport, which was dismayed when KLM, withdrew its Schiphol connection in 2012 following a cull of its route network. Liverpool airport hopes the Schiphol link would benefit Merseyside and North Wales travellers who want to connect with the rest of the world, for business. As well as making it easier for Brits to fly abroad on leisure trips, it might encourage inwards tourism too. Heathrow has offered to spend money getting links with Liverpool, and now Gatwick is trying to as well.… to avoid the business going to Schiphol.


Liverpool John Lennon Airport secures new flight link to destinations across the world

31.3.2015 (Liverpool Echo)
By Tony McDonough

Regional airline Flybe will connect Liverpool to global hub at Amsterdam Schiphol from September 7th.

….Liverpool airport press release here …..

Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) last night revealed it is re-establishing its hub link with Amsterdam – connecting it to destinations across the world.

From September 7, regional airline Flybe will offer up to three flights a day from LJLA to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, departing early morning, lunchtime and late afternoon.

Details of which airlines passengers will be able to connect onwards with will be announced shortly, but flights are expected to coincide with onward connections at Amsterdam to destinations such as New York, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai and Toronto.

The new service will add to Flybe’s existing Liverpool departures to the Isle of Man and Belfast City, with the airline operating 120 weekly flights to and from Liverpool. Re-establishing the link to Amsterdam is a cause for celebration for bosses at LJLA who were dismayed when Dutch airline, KLM, withdrew its Schiphol hub connection in 2012 following a cull of its route network.
The airport believed that, at the time, the route was just starting to gather momentum.

A hub connection not only benefits Merseyside and North Wales travellers who want to connect with the rest of the world, but also gives a huge boost to the Liverpool city region’s visitor economy, making easier for tourists from across the world to come here.

It will also mean Merseyside is a more attractive option to companies looking to invest in or relocate to the region.

The announcement was last night welcomed by Liverpool’s elected Mayor, Joe Anderson, who said: “Our ambition is to make Liverpool a national and international destination for visitors and investors alike.

“The route to future markets depends on our connectivity, so re-establishing the connection to Amsterdam opens up a vital gateway to our future prosperity.”

Crucial to the success of the route is what is called “interlining”. This is where passengers can simply walk onto their connecting onward flight without having to check in their luggage a second time.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport chief executive Andrew Cornish.Liverpool John Lennon Airport chief executive Andrew Cornish.
Andrew Cornish, chief executive of LJLA, said: “The importance of this route should not be underestimated and this is a big commitment by Flybe. Their decision to connect with flights at Amsterdam will open up global access to and from the Liverpool city region.

“As well as giving business and leisure passengers the convenience of being able to their start long-haul journeys from their home airport, it will also bring a further boost for the region’s tourism offer and inward investment opportunities.”

Exeter-based Flybe operates 180 routes to 65 European airports, carrying more than 7m passengers a year, and is Europe’s largest regional airline. Launched in 1979, it was once owned by steel tycoon, Jack Walker, who also owned Blackburn Rovers FC.

The carrier’s chief commercial officer, Paul Simmons, added: “Flybe is delighted to play a part in making it possible for Liverpool customers to access the world through Amsterdam and, just as importantly, make it easier for the rest of the world to come to Liverpool.

“The airline already has a number of codeshare and interline arrangements with long haul carriers that in the future has the potential to benefit passengers even further.”

The news was also welcomed by Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce chief executive, Jenny Stewart, who said: “This announcement will open up excellent opportunities for business travel to new export markets.”




Flybe accuses Gatwick of ignoring UK regions

Saad Hammad, the chief executive of Flybe, has criticised Gatwick for failing to address the needs of Britain’s regions, in its attempt to win support for its second runway. The head of the UK’s biggest regional airline said that Heathrow had been “more specific about what they are going to do” on take-off and landing slots and on charges for domestic flights and “I don’t think Gatwick has been as sensitive as we would like…. Heathrow has one up on Gatwick in terms of listening to regional needs and requirements.” Heathrow has said it would look at cutting charges for regional flights as part of a regular review of fees, though no binding commitment has been made. These cuts are largely to deter passengers flying via Schiphol or other European hubs, rather than concern for the regional airports. Flybe has no flights into Heathrow and only one from Gatwick to Newquay. It sold 25 pairs of slots to easyJet in 2013. A spokesman for Gatwick said that it had the “best” regional links of any London airport and would remain significantly cheaper than Heathrow, even if Heathrow reduced their domestic fees. Gatwick said it is planning to give details of its proposals on fees further later this month. It has claimed its landing charges would not rise above £15 per passenger, but only it gets a 2nd runway and Government agrees a contract not to allow any other runway in the south east for 30 years ….

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Gatwick rushes to offer money – if it gets a 2nd runway – to support and incentivise new domestic air services

After Heathrow got itself some good publicity in its runway campaign, by saying it would spend £10 million to set up some new regional routes, Gatwick has been panicked into doing the same. It appears to have had to rush out a paper, stating it will spend £20 million over 10 years to strengthen domestic air services. Only if it gets a second runway. The paper setting out its plan contains little text, and gives no references or sources for the figures it uses. Gatwick says it already serves 11 destinations within the UK compared with 7 at Heathrow. Gatwick says its plans for a 2nd runway will “encourage the growth of regional airports and the development of international services outside London and the South East” though it does not explain how. It probably means that if there are more long haul flights from an expanded Heathrow, there would be less market demand for these flights from regional airports, and they would thus suffer (which is true). Following what Heathrow has already offered, Gatwick says it will consult on reducing landing charges for regional flights. If Gatwick wasn’t so busy lobbying around Heathrow, and with negative campaigning about Heathrow, it might have thought of some of these ideas for itself, rather than just being a pastiche of Heathrow.

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Schiphol airport unfazed by prospect of new London runway – many UK passengers prefer transferring from Schiphol

Schiphol Group president and chief executive Jos Nijhuis, described Amsterdam as “London’s second hub”. Schiphol now handles up to 8 million UK passengers a year, 60% of whom connect to onward flights. Schiphol believes passengers from UK regional airports will continue to choose Amsterdam rather than Heathrow to connect to long‑haul flights, even if Heathrow gets a 3rd runway. 13 UK airports have services to Amsterdam and this will rise to 14 next month, with the addition of Belfast.  The loss of UK regional traffic to Amsterdam because of capacity constraints at Heathrow has featured heavily in Heathrow’s lobbying for a new runway, wanting to prevent the loss of customers to Schiphol. And wanting to keep on being the biggest international airport, by far, in Europe.  Jos Nijhuis said: “We are London’s second hub and doing very well. …I tell [Heathrow chief executive] John Holland-Kaye: ‘Consider our most western runway as yours. We can rename it Heathrow Runway Three….We are a much better transfer airport [than our rivals]. We designed the airport for transfers.” KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers said: “I don’t think additional capacity in London would make Heathrow more attractive than Schiphol to passengers in Newcastle or Humberside.” He felt higher charges needed by Heathrow to pay for a new runway would mean the runway would not reduce the traffic going via Schiphol.

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Heathrow to reduce charges on domestic flights from £29.59 to £19.59 from Ist Jan 2016 – to deter passengers flying via Schiphol etc

Heathrow plans to cut the fees it charges airlines for domestic passengers. It says that from 1st January 2016 it will reduce the minimum departure charge for all flights (currently £1,406) to £1,268.40 per domestic flight. It will also cut the charge from £29.59 to £19.59 per passenger, in a bid to increase the number of passengers flying between UK regional airports and Heathrow. Heathrow serves just 7 regional destinations, down from 18 in 1990. It hopes the lower charges on domestic routes would encourage fuller planes and make more efficient use of the limited number of slots for regional flights, which are less profitable for airlines than long haul flights. Heathrow also says it will reduce minimum charges per plane to £1,592.15 for EU flights and £2,689.82 for non-EU destinations. It will also cut the per passenger charge for passengers flying to European destinations by £5 to £24.59. They plan instead to charge more for the noisiest planes, and those that emit more NOx – with the overall changes revenue neutral. The aim is discouraging passengers flying via European airports like Schiphol, and using Heathrow instead. The environmental fees would rise from being 21% to being 28% of total airport charges. Heathrow also say that, if they get a 3rd runway, they would open 5 new domestic routes, including Humberside, Newquay and Liverpool.

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Heathrow would spend £10 million to increase some domestic flights, only if granted a 3rd runway, to get backing from regions

Heathrow has increasingly cut the number of flights to UK regional airports, as it has become more uneconomic for the airlines to run them – and long haul international routes are more profitable. But Heathrow is aware that it needs to get the backing of regional airports, in order to lobby to be allowed a 3rd runway. Heathrow therefore suggested the setting up of a National Connectivity Task Force. In order to boost flights to the regions, Heathrow now says that – only IF it gets a new runway – it will spend £10 million on for the development of 5 new domestic routes, for 3 years. These would include Newquay, Humberside and Liverpool. That would be in addition to the 4 extra routes that easyJet has said it wants to operate if there is a Heathrow runway, to Inverness, Belfast International, the Isle of Man and Jersey. There are currently 6 domestic routes from Heathrow (Leeds Bradford, Belfast City, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Newcastle). Heathrow also said it would launch a review of its airport charges in the coming weeks to focus on making domestic flights more commercially attractive (cheaper) to airlines. The results of this consultation, which is not dependent upon getting a new runway, will be effective from January 2016.

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