Petition for more Norwich flights
LORNA MARSH An independent travel agent is hoping to put pressure on airlines and tour operators to bring more flights to Norwich following the demise of a number of routes.
An independent travel agent is hoping to put pressure on airlines and tour operators to bring more flights to Norwich following the demise of a number of routes.
Mike Lake, partner at Skyplane Worldchoice in Norwich, has set up an online petition in response to “popular demand and huge consumer interest” to bring back some of the axed routes to Norwich International Airport.
It follows Flybe's withdrawal of three routes and the cancellation of flights to other destinations by tour operators such as Thomson.
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The loss of Belfast was quickly followed by Faro and Murcia and then the news last month that Flybe will axe Alicante and Malaga from next month.
The airline claimed that demand has gone down because of the aiport introducing a £3 a flight passenger tax.
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But aiport officials deny this is the case and say that Flybe is concentrating now on business flights rather than the holiday market, accusing the airline of not giving some routes a proper chance.
Airport spokesman Louise Wilkinson said the airport has sympathy for Mr Lake's campaign.
“The dynamics of the industry are that when a budget airline comes in chartered operators can't compete and move out but when the airline does the same we lose routes.”
As previously reported by the EDP the airport is in talks with several operators in a bid to restore some of the routes and Ms Wilkinson said she hoped to have a good schedule back again for next year but nothing had been made concrete yet.
Mr Lake said: “The aim of the petition is three-fold: To lobby Flybe with real numbers, a show of strength, to show them how often these people are likely to travel and to where. These statistics will hopefully encourage them to re-instate some of the busier routes. However we do need the help of all local travellers; to approach additional charter airlines and tour operators to encourage them to start up routes from Norwich to the main Spanish destinations; to approach their competitors. Airlines to be spoken to include Ryanair, Easyjet, Monarch and other no frills airlines.
But he said the petition needed more names to support the case.
“It is encouraging that we have had lots of calls of support for what we are trying to do. It is worth remembering that these airlines also bring a lot of incoming trade into our city. The continued prosperity of Norwich and Norfolk is hugely dependent upon these visitors.”
t www.savenorwichflights.co.uk or call 01603 253512