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Andrew Bell, left, Norwich International Airport CEO and Paul Cooper, airport negotiations manager for Thomson and First Choice, announce an increase in holiday choices for customers. Picture: Denise Bradley
By shaun Lowthorpe
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Passengers hoping to ‘fly local’ for their summer getaway were yesterday promised more flights from Norwich as travel firm Thomson and First Choice announced it was to double its capacity from next year.
The firm yesterday said it was adding three new routes - Dalaman in Turkey, Enfidha in Tunisia and Tenerife - as well as the addition of another weekly flight for the existing Palma route.
The travel operator also said that Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire customers will now have access to some of Thomson and First Choice’s most highly scoring flagship hotels including; the five star Sensatori Tenerife, and the Holiday Village Tunisia.
Paul Cooper, Airport Negotiations Manager for Thomson and First Choice, said: “Doubling capacity demonstrates our continued commitment to the region and Norwich International Airport, which has always been a popular departure point for our customers. The increase in capacity comes as a direct result of customer feedback - our customers want to fly from their local airport.
“We have been speaking to our customers through focus groups and the feedback is saying they want more capacity at Norwich International,” Mr Cooper added. “Currently we do three flights a week out of Norwich and next year we are taking that up to eight.”
The move to introduce these routes is part of the UK’s largest tour operator’s strategy to ensure customers across the UK can fly from their local airport while customers from East Anglia will also have the opportunity to chose 10 and 11 night trips in addition to the standard seven and 14 night stays.
The changes also mean that Thomson and First Choice customers will now be able to fly to Palma and sail on the Thomson Dream cruise ship visiting a number of ports across the Mediterranean.
An increase in capacity on the existing Norwich to Corfu route will also see a further 50 seats a week available to local customers.
This year has also seen the introdution of extra flights to Manchester, Newquay, Exeter and the Isle of Man from the airport.
Andrew Bell, chief executive of Norwich International Airport said: “It’s a huge vote of confidence in this airport from Thomson First Choice, who are one of the biggest operators. For them to focus all their efforts on Norwich next year in a climate that’s very challenging is a fantastic boost.
“It’s another step in the airport’s strategy of building different areas of the passenger business,” he added. “There are still more destinations for us to add, no doubt about it, but today is very positive. They are adding 16,800 more holidays, up from 14,500, which is more than doubling.”
The boss of Norse Group wants to capitalise on a record year for the business by injecting £40m into Norfolk services.