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Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 17:51 GMT
North east hit by flight cuts
Aberdeen Airport
Air passengers will have fewer services
British Airways has announced the end of six flights to UK regional destinations from Aberdeen airport.

Two of the routes are being taken over by a Humberside-based firm as BA's CitiExpress operation reorganises its services.

In total, 21 routes will be withdrawn across the UK by the end of March.

David Evans, British Airways' general manager UK business, said the changes would allow the airline to "concentrate efforts on key markets".

The affected routes are:

  • Aberdeen-Belfast
  • Aberdeen-Bristol
  • Aberdeen-Cardiff
  • Aberdeen-Leeds-Bradford
  • Aberdeen-Newcastle
  • Aberdeen-Southampton.

The services to Newcastle and Leeds-Bradford are being taken on by Eastern Airways, which already flies from Aberdeen to East Midlands, Humberside, Teeside, Norwich and Wick.

Eastern Airways has also signed a deal to take over CitiExpress's 12-strong fleet of 29-seat Jetstream 41 aircraft and its engineering hangar in Glasgow.

But as CitExpress contracts end in Aberdeen, a new flight from Glasgow to London City airport will be launched in April 2003.

Cabin crew
A new route from Glasgow to London will take off

There is confusion about who is taking over the other routes BA intends to give up.

An Eastern Airways spokeswoman said that although it also wanted to take over the Aberdeen-Belfast route, it had yet to speak to Scottish Airports management.

She could not confirm reports that Eastern Airways intended to take over the Aberdeen-Southampton route.

Aberdeen airport said it was hopeful other carriers would take over the remaining routes.

In April, BA announced the loss of 500 jobs over the following two years from CitiExpress, with Scotland bearing the brunt of the changes.

'Disappointing' numbers

This included the closure of a reporting base in Aberdeen.

CitiExpress was created in March when BA combined two of its subsidiaries, British Regional Airlines and Brymon.

The Dutch airline, KLM, is also cutting flights from Aberdeen because of "disappointing" passenger numbers.

This Saturday will see the end of its Stavanger route which has only been running for a short time.

The airline admits that as a result it is reviewing one of its services to Amsterdam. It currently run four a day, but says it would be reluctant to return to three flights,

Inverness flights

Meanwhile a new low cost air service has been launched between the Highlands and London.

Easyjet plans to operate daily scheduled flights between Gatwick and Inverness, competing with British Airways on the route.

The airline said it expected the new service to bring significant economic benefits to the region from business and tourism.

Yvonne Work, Easyjet's sales manager, said demand for the new slot is expected to be around 80,000 passengers a year.

The route is expected to start operation on 3 February.

See also:

12 Aug 02 | Scotland
29 May 02 | Scotland
13 Feb 02 | Business
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