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Dundee Airport at risk after London route closure

Dundee Airport is set to lose its London flights. Picture: PA

Dundee Airport is set to lose its London flights. Picture: PA

  • by FRANK URQUHART
 

FRESH concerns were raised yesterday about the future of Dundee airport following confirmation that its only scheduled passenger service is to end in the New Year.

Earlier this month, a major study by Transport Scotland warned that retaining the CityJet daily service to London was key to securing the future of the troubled airport.

But CityJet, which has been operating two return flights a day between Dundee and London City airports, has now informed airport operators, Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL), that the service is to be axed in the New Year.

A spokesman for HIAL said: “We are obviously disappointed at the decision by CityJet to

discontinue the London City service.

“We have worked hard, over many years, to support CityJet’s operation from Dundee. Unfortunately, the route has simply failed to attract enough passengers to make it commercially viable.

“We are confident, however, that there will be continuity of service to London, and we are working closely with the Scottish Government, Dundee City Council and other partners on a solution which would keep

services running in the interim.

“Meanwhile, efforts to introduce a public service obligation, which would safeguard the link between Dundee and London over the long term, will continue.”

CityJet declined to comment but confirmed that details of a new timetable for its services would be published next month.

A spokesman for Dundee City Council said: “The council has been working closely with its partners in the Scottish Government, HIAL and a range of organisations over the future of Dundee airport.

“The Department of Transport has approved a ‘Public Service Obligation’ for the council to help attract a new operator for the route.”

He continued: “This means that we will be issuing a tender early in the New Year as part of that process and we will do everything we can to ensure the seamless continuation of a service to London.”

Loganair withdrew its scheduled services from Dundee to Belfast and Birmingham last year because of a decline in passenger numbers.

Transport Scotland’s blueprint for the main airport for Tayside revealed that the airport had suffered a major decrease in passenger numbers in recent years.

From a high point of nearly 80,000 passengers in 2008, an estimated 50,000 passengers now use the airport.

The report warned: “With commercial air passengers representing the largest source of the airport’s revenues, if the current London City route were to be withdrawn and not replaced, the short-term prospects for the airport would be likely to include a requirement for rising levels of subsidy over and above the current estimate of £2.7 million per annum.”

 

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