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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 23:25 GMT 00:25 UK
Isles flights to London take off
Sumburgh Airport
The flights are linking Sumburgh with London Stansted
The first direct scheduled flights between Shetland and London are being launched on Friday.

Atlantic Airways is operating a summer programme of twice-weekly Monday and Friday return flights until October.

The flights link Sumburgh Airport with London Stansted, as well as the Faroe Islands.

Atlantic Airways has carried out a major campaign in London to promote its new direct air link between Shetland and the UK capital.

The service qualified for support from the Scottish Executive's Air Route Development Fund.

A weekend break to Britain's most northerly islands is now a reality
Andy Steven

As part of an advertising campaign in London, panels in underground trains have urged commuters to escape the crowds, pollution and jams by heading to Shetland.

The airline hopes eventually to build the new route up to a year-round operation.

Kent Christensen, the airline's sales and marketing director, said: "We have already been greatly encouraged by the volume of forward bookings on the new route.

"We are now delighted to work with all our partners to ensure many more people know how easy it will be to escape from London to Shetland and, indeed, the Faroe Islands.

"We are delighted by the positive attitude of our colleagues in Shetland and will continue to work with all our partners towards the eventual aim of a year-round service."

Andy Steven, VisitShetland's director of tourism, said: "By making our islands and famous hospitality easily accessible from London, a weekend break to Britain's most northerly islands is now a reality."

The flight time will be one hour and 40 minutes and fares start at 156.

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