THE drive to secure a long term future for Dundee’s troubled airport received a major boost today with the announcement of a new air service linking the City of Discovery to London.
Loganair will begin operating a twice-daily weekday service, and once on a Sunday, to London Stansted from 30 March.
It will replace the CityJet service to London City airport which is to be axed at the end of March.
Fresh concerns about the future of Dundee airport were raised last month following confirmation that the CityJet service was to end. It followed the publication of a major study by Transport Scotland which warned that retaining a daily service to London was key to securing the future of the troubled airport, operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL).
Keith Brown. the Scottish Transport Minister, welcomed the new London service. He said: “This agreement with Loganair is welcome news for Dundee Airport as it guarantees continuity of service for the Dundee-London route.
“Maintaining this link is crucial to the airport’s long term future and this announcement safeguards the service as we move towards establishing a full Public Service Obligation on the route.”
He continued: “Transport Scotland continues to work hard in partnership with Dundee City Council and HIAL to find ways of maximising the potential of Dundee Airport.”
HIAL today also announced plans to issue tenders in the near future to secure a Public Service Obligation that will ensure the long term future of air services between Dundee and London.
Inglis Lyon, the company’s managing director, said: “We are delighted that by working in partnership with Dundee City Council, Transport Scotland and Loganair, we have been able to provide continuity of service between Dundee and London, following the withdrawal of CityJet.
“Stansted is a great choice of airport for Dundee, with a wider choice of airlines and three times the number of destinations on offer at London City. Flight times have been designed with business passengers in mind and will allow those travelling for work to reach the City in good time for an early morning meeting, with easy rail access into Liverpool Street, right in the heart of London’s financial centre.”
He added: “Efforts are continuing to secure a Public Service Obligation that would ensure the long term future of services between Dundee and London. However, this is a good solution for the city at this time, and we hope that business and leisure passengers will support the service.”
Councillor Ken Guild, the leader of Dundee City Council, said: “The council has been working closely with its partners in Transport Scotland, Highland and Islands Airports and Loganair to help ensure this continuity of service between Dundee and London.
“We are obviously keen to find a longer term service to connect Dundee and London, and the council is in the process of putting together a tender to attract an operator under a Public Service Obligation.”
He continued: “The council and its partners want to do all they can to make sure that there is a seamless continuation of service to London. Air links to Dundee have played an important role in the long-term regeneration of Dundee and we want to see even more people using services from Dundee Airport.
“Confirmation from Loganair is a positive step forward at this time. We are all committed to ongoing efforts to secure London services for the future.”
Loganair launched its first ever scheduled service in Dundee in 1963 and currently employs 23 aircrew and engineering staff at its base at the airport. The new service will be operated by a 32-seat Dornier 328 turboprop aircraft. One-way flights will cost from £74.99.
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.