Showing posts with label Stobart Air. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stobart Air. Show all posts

12 June, 2021

Stobart Air collapse forces Aer Lingus to axe most flights from Belfast City Airport.

The news that regional airline Stobart Air is being liquidated after failing to find a buyer has led to the Irish carrier Aer Lingus to axe almost all flights from Belfast City Airport to several key UK destinations. 

Services that have been cancelled include flights to Leeds Bradford, Edinburgh, Exeter, Manchester, East Midlands and Birmingham. Aer Lingus said that all of its customers affected by the cancellations were being offered details of an alternative flight "where feasible" and also have the option of a full refund. 

The Irish airline has also said that of the routes affected by Stobart's liquidation, Aer Lingus will operate five routes and for at least the next week and BA City Flyer would operate two. Flights from Belfast City Airport to London Heathrow will not be affected.

"Teams across Aer Lingus have been working through the night progressing alternative flying operations from tomorrow to provide a service for Aer Lingus Regional customers," the airline confirmed in a statement.  

Stobart Air operated some routes within the Republic of Ireland for Aer Lingus as well and it is understood that all flights on those routes have all been cancelled for the foreseeable future. 

Stobart Air operated a fleet of ATR42/72 and Embraer E190 aircraft and in addition to the franchise flying it did for Aer Lingus Regional, it also operated tailored ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance) wet-leasing services on both short and long term contracts.  It also provided private air charter flights for various customers including sports teams, tour operators, corporate firms and individual groups. 

According to reports, some 490 staff are affected, around 120 of those are said to be flight deck crew and the pilots union - Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association has confirmed it was assisting its members. 

Many in the industry expressed surprise at Stobart's collapse, however, the airline has been struggling in recent years. It had been involved in the failed attempt the resurrect for collapsed FlyBe under the Connect Airways brand along with Virgin and its parent company Esken. A number of poor management decisions in recent times had all had an impact on the airline plus the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic also took a great toll. As the carrier was about to lose its franchise contract with Aer Lingus (scheduled to end next year) financial problems with a possible buyer and Esken's refusal to pump more funds into Stobart Air meant there was little other option for the airline.

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25 May, 2021

Stobart are seeking cabin crew......

The UK regional airline, Stobart Air that operations flights for Aer Lingus Regional is now looking for cabin crew at its Belfast base following a recent announcement of additional services at Belfast City Airport. 

Duties and Responsibilities include:

  • Ensure operational safety, security and health and safety responsibilities are performed to the highest standards and are compliant with CAA, Stobart Air UK Standard Operating Procedures and all other relevant legislation
  • Maintain safety compliance at all times provided for through Safety & Equipment Procedures training
  • Deliver excellent customer service in line with our service standards
  • Ensure compliance with all company policies and procedures in accordance with relevant legislation
  • To be a representative of Stobart Air UK and adhere to our uniform standards at all times
  • To build effective working relationships with colleagues and service partners to work as one team

21 May, 2021

Stobart Air to launch Belfast - Glasgow route in July.

Stobart Air, the operator of Aer Lingus Regional routes, has added a new route to its network, connecting Belfast and Glasgow through frequent flights.

The new Belfast City Airport (BHD) to Glasgow Airport (GLA) route will initially operate on a daily basis with 11 flights weekly, commencing on 1 July, and will increase to 19 flights weekly in August.

Anticipating a resumption of air travel within the Common Travel Area in line with the successful rollout of vaccination programmes across the UK and Ireland, Stobart Air has added this new route to its Aer Lingus Regional network to provide additional choice and frequency for customers wishing to travel between Belfast and Glasgow for business and/or leisure.

All Stobart Air flights will operate in line with Covid protocols put in place by the UK Government, Stormont Executive, and health authorities.

10 May, 2021

Stobart Air adds two new Aer Lingus Regional routes from Dublin and Belfast to Cardiff......

Stobart Air, the operator of Aer Lingus Regional routes, has confirmed it has added two new routes to its network, connecting the island of Ireland with the capital city of Wales.

The new Dublin (DUB) to Cardiff Airport (CWL) route will initially operate three times weekly, on Monday, Friday, and Sunday, commencing on 30 August. 

The new route between Belfast City Airport (BHD) and Cardiff will initially operate four times weekly on Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday commencing on 28 June. 

Anticipating a resumption of air travel within the Common Travel Area in line with the successful rollout of vaccination programmes across the UK and Ireland, Stobart Air has added these new routes to its Aer Lingus Regional network to provide additional choices for customers wishing to travel for business and leisure. 

All Stobart Air flights will operate in line with Covid protocols put in place by the UK and Irish governments and health authorities. Stobart Air has implemented enhanced health and safety measures to protect staff, crew and passengers, including enhanced aircraft cleaning, mandatory face coverings (with the exception of small children and those who are unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons), and boarding, disembarkation and in-flight procedures to reduce crew and passenger interaction.

26 April, 2021

Stobart Air adds two new routes from Exeter to Dublin and Newquay Cornwall to Belfast as new ownership concludes

Stobart Air, the operator of Aer Lingus Regional routes, has added two new routes to its network, connecting England’s southwestern coast with the island of Ireland.

The new Exeter Airport (EXT) to Dublin Airport (DUB) route will initially operate four times weekly, on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, commencing on 30 August.

The new Cornwall Airport Newquay (NQY) to Belfast City Airport (BHD) will initially operate three times weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, commencing on 28 June.

Anticipating a resumption of air travel within the Common Travel Area in line with the successful rollout of vaccination programmes across the UK and Ireland, Stobart Air has added these new routes to its network to provide additional choices for customers wishing to travel for business and leisure.

 Andy Jolly, Managing Director at Stobart Air, said:  "We are committed to providing our passengers with frequent, convenient and affordable services through our regional connections. We look forward to welcoming our staff and customers onboard these new routes."

New ownership in place

14 September, 2020

Birmingham and Manchester Services Take Off from Belfast City Airport

Belfast City Airport has further strengthened its UK route network with the inaugural Aer Lingus flights to Birmingham and Manchester taking off today, 14th September.

The Aer Lingus Regional routes will commence with a double-daily service, with up to three flights daily from 15th October, to conveniently connect passengers with the West Midlands area and the North West of England.

Katy Best, Commercial Director at Belfast City Airport, said:  “As hub airports, Birmingham and Manchester have always been popular routes served from Belfast City Airport, heavily utilised by both business and leisure audiences, as well as the student market, so it is great to have this connectivity secured once again.

“Today’s launches are the third and fourth in a series of six new route launches with Aer Lingus Regional. We very much look forward to working with the airline to ensure the success of these routes and bolstering regional connectivity from Northern Ireland.”

29 August, 2020

Aer Lingus Regional has launched a new route from George Best Belfast City Airport to Edinburgh.

Aer Lingus Regional has launched a new route from George Best Belfast City Airport to Edinburgh.

This service, operated by Stobart Air, will connect passengers from Northern Ireland to the Scottish capital up to three times daily, providing choice and convenience.

Edinburgh was the first of the six new Aer Lingus routes to take off from Belfast City, with the inaugural flight to Exeter following on Friday 28th August. Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Manchester will follow in a phased approach, in line with passenger demand and Government guidance.

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27 August, 2020

Jobs.......Stobart Air are looking for Technical Services Engineer.

The regional airline Stobart Air are now inviting applications from all staff for the position of Technical Services Engineer.

Duties & Responsibilities:

Review and implementation of Airworthiness Directives, OEM Documentation, Service Bulletins and modifications.
Investigation of fleet, reliability and safety issues as required.
Liaison with Original Equipment Manufacturers, Type Certificate Holders, Regulatory Bodies and maintenance and repair organisations regarding technical issues.
Provide technical support to line and heavy maintenance and other internal departments where required.
Support aircraft delivery and redelivery programmes.
Other duties as assigned by the Technical Services Manager.

Minimum Skills & Experience Required:

Minimum of 3 years experience in a technical services, maintenance provider or similar highly regulated environment essential.
Hold an EASA Part 66 Type Licence or a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical/ Mechanical Engineering or similar discipline.
Previous experience with AMOS is desirable but not essential.
Proficient in MS Office suite and comfortable learning new systems.
Be very well organised with good attention to detail.
Be comfortable working to strict deadlines on multiple tasks and projects as part of a team.
Take responsibility for tasks, with the ability to see projects through to fruition.
Excellent written & verbal communication skills.
Be flexible during busy periods.

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26 August, 2020

New routes from Belfast City Airport with Aer Lingus

Six new routes from Belfast City Airport starting this autumn will connect to various major cities across the UK.  The services are being operated by Stobart Air, for Aer Lingus Regional and the airline will base five ATR72-600 aircraft at Belfast City Airport.  The long-term plan is for the airline to operate over 200 flights weekly to and from Belfast. Stobart Air operates 30 Aer Lingus Regional routes from bases in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.

Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive at Belfast City Airport, said:  “Despite an extremely challenging environment, we’re delighted that Aer Lingus is to establish a new base and significantly enhance its UK network from Belfast City. As an island off an island, air connectivity with the rest of UK is critical to the enabling the Northern Ireland economy’s recovery.

This announcement is testament to the recent investments by our shareholder in making the airport and its facilities best in class, exceeding passengers’ expectations in a location only five minutes form the centre of Belfast.”


  • Taking off 27th August
  • Up to 3 flights a day
Whether you're a foodie, culture vulture, outdoorsy type, or love to shop, Scotland's capital has something for you. Visit the Old Town to immerse yourself in arts and history, shop until you drop in Princes Street or sample the local cuisine at one of the New Town's top rated restaurants or bars.

Click here to explore This is Edinburgh's official guide with top tips, trip inspiration, and guidance on the enhanced safety measures in place to ensure you can make the most of your trip.  

5 interesting facts about Edinburgh:
1. Edinburgh Castle is built on a volcano
The best spot in the city for panoramic views, Arthur’s Seat, is also an extinct volcano and you can even see volcanic rock at the top.

2. Edinburgh has more listed buildings than anywhere else in the world
It is home to 4,500 listed buildings – 900 of which are Grade A! This includes Greyfriars Kirkyard, Parliament Hall, and the National Museum of Scotland.

3. And more trees per head than any other city in the UK
With 112 parks across the city, Edinburgh is considered one of the UK’s greenest and is on track to be a ‘one million trees’ city by 2030.

4. The Royal Mile isn’t actually a mile long
Home to some of the best eating and drinks spots in the city, the Royal Mile measures just over a mile with an extra 107 yards on the end.

5. Edinburgh invented the Jaffa Cake
Invented in 1927 by McVitie and Price, the name was chosen for the iconic cakes after the Jaffa Oranges that they were flavoured with.
Although it was widely debated if it was a cake or biscuit, following a challenge by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs it was decided in court that they were cakes – which still stands true to this day.


  • Taking off 14th September
  • Up to 4 flights a day​​​​​​​
Hailed as a gateway to the North, Manchester is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city packed with a world-class music scene, legendary football teams and fun for all the family.

Not only can you meet some of the 15,000 animals at Chester Zoo - where The Secret Life of the Zoo is filmed - but you can also visit Legoland, explore the deep seas at Sea Life, or embrace your inner child at the North West's largest freestyle indoor park.

25 July, 2020

East Midlands Airport says hello to Stobart Air, operator of Aer Lingus Regional

Stobart Air, operator of Aer Lingus Regional, will launch a new service from East Midlands Airport to Belfast City in October.

The three daily return flights will begin on 1 October. This will be the only service connecting EMA to Belfast and it will be operated by an ATR72-600 aircraft.
The flight times allow for easy access to Belfast and Northern Ireland whether visiting for the day or for longer.
Following guidance from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stobart Air, has implemented a number of enhanced health and safety measures to protect staff, crew and passengers. New measures include:
  • Enhanced aircraft cleaning: To ensure the wellbeing of our passengers and crew, enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures have been introduced for the aircraft cabin, which are in addition to the existing aircraft cleaning schedule. Each aircraft, including seats, armrests and tray tables will be subject to a daily disinfection process which provides surface protection from viruses for 24 hours.

  • On board measures: Face coverings or masks are mandatory on all flights operated by Stobart Air for customers and cabin crew respectively, with the exception of small children and those who are unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons. The face coverings can be in the form of a reusable cloth mask or a disposable mask and it is recommended that these are worn from the time passengers enter the departure airport to the time they leave their destination airport.

24 July, 2020

Manchester-Belfast City Airport route starts from 14 September

Stobart Air to operate up to 4 daily return flights from Manchester to Belfast City
It has been confirmed that Stobart Air, operating as Aer Lingus Regional, will base five ATR72-600 aircraft at Belfast City Airport and the airline will operate up to 4 daily return flights from Manchester Airport to Belfast City Airport with fares starting from £29.99 one way including taxes.

Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, operates three routes from Manchester including Dublin, Cork and now Belfast City.

Stobart Air, following guidance from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), has implemented a number of enhanced health and safety measures to protect staff, crew and passengers. New measures include:

Belfast City Airport to get six new routes with Stobart Air

Belfast City Airport secures six routes to the UK commencing from 27 August  
  • Stobart Air, operator of Aer Lingus Regional routes, to base five ATR72-600 aircraft at Belfast City Airport
  • Routes from Belfast City Airport to Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Exeter to commence from 27 August
  • Commenting on the announcement, Brian Ambrose, CEO of Belfast City Airport said the new base would significantly enhance the Aer Lingus network from Northern Ireland
Belfast City Airport (BHD) announced the opening of a new Aer Lingus Regional base with the launch of six routes operated by Stobart Air.
Services to Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Exeter will begin on a phased basis in line with passenger demand. From 27 August, flights from Belfast City to Edinburgh will begin, while services to Exeter will commence on 28 August. Flights to Manchester and Birmingham will operate from 14 September and to East Midlands and Leeds Bradford from 1 October.
Stobart Air, operator of Aer Lingus Regional routes, will base five ATR72-600 aircraft at Belfast City Airport and plan to operate over 200 flights weekly to and from Belfast. Stobart Air operates 30 Aer Lingus Regional routes from bases in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.

03 April, 2020

Stobart Air criticized for laying off staff with no pay

Photo Aer Lingus
Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union accused Stobart Air, which operates Aer Lingus’ regional service, of cynically ditching its workforce at Southend airport, during the coronavirus crisis. These employees operate flights to European and regional destinations including Antwerp, Manchester, Edinburgh and Newquay.

Not only had the airline laid off over 30 Unite members who were employed as cabin crew with the regional airline. These staff members have been laid off without pay,  initially for four weeks from 1st April. 

Unite sought to follow the procedure, which has become the norm for the aviation industry, that the workers were furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme and therefore would receive 80 per cent of their pay.  The union said that it is concerned Stobart Air was forcing workers onto unpaid leave so they would look for jobs elsewhere, which in turn would cut redundancy costs if Stobart closed down operations.

05 March, 2020

Stobart Air is recruiting for first officers.........

Stobart Air, one of Europe’s leading franchise, ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, Insurance), and charter aviation specialists, has launched its 2020 Captain Training Programme, it was announced today.

The airline is seeking to recruit First Officers (FOs) to join the programme and train as Captains, in a bid to meet the growing demand for pilots on the Stobart Air route network.

The announcement comes as 12 FOs recently graduated to Captain.

The Captain Training Programme consists of four phases including guided self-study, facilitated ground school, online flight assessments, and training in a state-of-the-art simulator ATR flight simulator. First Officers can expect to fly approximately 2,000 flight hours and transition towards Command in the programme, the final exam to graduate as captain.

28 May, 2019

Christine Ourmières-Widener steps down as boss of Flybe

Christine Ourmières-Widener, one of the all too few women in CEO roles in the aviation industry,  is leaving the British regional airline Flybe, which was sold earlier in this year to rushed together consortium including Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group called Connect Airways. 

Ourmières-Widener confirmed the news in a letter to the airline's staff, "It has been the greatest privilege to lead Flybe over the past two tumultuous years and to work with such an outstanding and dedicated team of people." she wrote.

"I knew that taking the helm at the time I did would pose real challenges - but the scale of them after years of difficulty at the company surprised even me."

"However, together we persevered and, despite the many curve balls thrown at us late in the day, have been able to secure 2,500 jobs with the sale to Connect and provide our customers with the service they have come to enjoy without any significant disruption".

Christine Ourmières-Widener's last day at the company will be 15th July and her successor will be announced before she leaves, according to information from the Exter based company, however, indications are that it is someone from the upper management structure of Virgin Atlantic, although no details have yet been released. 

15 January, 2019

Virgin lead consortium ups price for Flybe.....

It's been just days since Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus came together to put in an official deal for the troubled regional airline, Flybe, which could lead to the birth of the Virgin Atlantic brand flying small regional thin routes in the UK.

Many in the industry see the dilution of the so-called sacred Virgin Atlantic brand in this way would almost certainly prove to be disastrous in the long run for Virgin Atlantic. Although some have a more positive appreciation of the Virgin Atlantic brand on domestic and European travel.

FlyBe's share price tumbled down on news of the offer of £2.2 million from the Virgin lead consortium, called 'Connect Airways'  - nothing to do with the Swiss Connect Air that ran between 2004 and 2008 or the Connectair, the feeder airline for British Caledonian in the 80's which went on to become Air Europe Express.

Interesting to note, that one of the few people buying FlyBe shares is one William Andrew Tinkler, the former boss of Stobart, who just happens to be involved in a rather acrimonious legal dispute with the company. Apparently, Tinkler and two other leading business people were looking at taking over Flybe or merging it with Stobart Air many many months ago!

Earlier today, Tuesday 15th January, the bid for FlyBe had to be increased to £2.8 million and a bridging loan mentioned in the original announcement was declined, although Flybe didn't say exactly why. However, a revised Bridge Facility of up to £20 million from Virgin and Stobart, to provide funding to Flybe Limited, of which £10 million will be released today to support the business. In addition, a number of improved agreements with banks have also been reached today to improve liquidity was agreed.

05 December, 2018

Is the Flybe future about to unfold?

The future of the troubled UK regional carrier Flybe could be decided in the not too distant future, we've been told by a staff member that an announcement on a deal is imminent. Yet, exactly who is coming to the rescue of the financially ailing airline?

Virgin Atlantic confirmed on Friday, November 23rd, that it was in talks with Flybe, “Virgin Atlantic notes the recent media speculation related to Flybe. Virgin Atlantic has a trading and codeshare relationship and confirms that it is reviewing its options in respect of Flybe, which range from enhanced commercial arrangements to a possible offer for Flybe. Virgin Atlantic emphasises that there can be no certainty that an offer will be made nor as to the terms of any offer.” was the statement at the time and nothing much has changed, indeed when approached yesterday the Virgin press office told us "Our position on Flybe remains the same."

As time moves on, industry advisers in Crawley inform us that it's less and less likely that Virgin will take over the company as a whole. Although Virgin has had experience of running domestic routes in the UK, it's own Little Red ran from April 2013 to September 2015, yet with loads of little over 37% it wasn't what you might call an unqualified success. It is therefore perhaps unlikely that Virgin, majority owned by US carrier Delta, would be interested in taking over Flybe. The only thing that might warrant a bid is the highly valuable and highly prized London Heathrow landing and take off slots that Flybe has!

Stobart Air is another airline that we've been told have held, at least, preliminary talks with Flybe over a possible merger. Stobart Air is one of Europe’s leading franchise, ACMI and charter aviation specialists, every week it operates some 940 flights over more than 43 routes in 11 European countries with partners Aer Lingus and Flybe. However, the signs that Stobart is to be the saviour of Flybe dimmed dramatically when a spokesperson at Stobart Air told us, “It is business as usual for Stobart Air. The airline currently operates nine routes from London Southend Airport under our Flybe franchise agreement. This will reduce to five for the summer 2019 schedule including the new London Southend Airport- Newquay Cornwall route.”

Another airline said by some in the industry to be in the running for a complete buyout of Flybe is the Humberside (HUY) based Eastern Airways, that flies a mixed fleet including 2 ATR72-600s, 8 BAe Jetstream 41s, some Embraer jets and Saab 2000 turboprops on many regional UK routes. Its operation and route network would greatly compliment that of Flybe and together they would truly have the biggest domestic UK route network. Eastern Airways remains tightlipped over possible talks, not responding to our requests for comment. However, it is understood that parent company, the Bristow Group has made funds available for a potential purchase. 

Aviation media speculation indicated that Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air had been in negotiations with Flybe over a rescue package funnelled through its UK subsidiary. Wizz Air UK currently operates 8 UK registered aircraft from its London Luton Airport (LTN) base. Whilst Wizz is keen to take a larger slice of the UK aviation market, Flybe's route structure and mixed aircraft fleet is at odds with the larger single type operation Wizz Air currently deploys. When I broached the possibility of Wizz Air whizzing in for a stealthy deal with a contact based in Jersey, my ears were filled with a guffaw of unnatural length. 

When asked for a comment on the current state of negotiations and the speculation that a deal was imminent, a rather terse "Flybe doesn’t comment on these matters." was all we were given, which doesn't clarify the muddy waters. The firm has however been rather busy scrubbing around for various sources of financing in the last two weeks which has included getting another loan or mortgage on one of its Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft - G-JEDW that netted £5 million ($6.35million). The sale of a hanger at Exeter Airport (EXT), which Flybe will now lease back raised a further £5 million of much-needed funds. The company is also in dispute with Monarch Aircraft Engineering for maintenance contracts at Birmingham and Manchester, which may save the carrier some cash, although it will have to do all the maintenance itself, which might negate any cost savings.  

There is also speculation among some in the industry, that no buyer will be found in time to rescue the carrier as a going concern, leaving it no option other than to call in the administrators. Then, we're told, the interested parties will strike, pick the bones of Flybe at bargain rock bottom prices. I feel however, Flybe is a much more valuable asset up and running as it is currently, but for how long that will last, is not at all certain.  

14 November, 2018

Stobart Air poised to take over FlyBe?

Stobart Air is poised to buy out the troubled British regional airline Flybe, according to Sky News, it is being reported this week. 

The broadcaster reported that Bankers at Evercore have been brought in to handle talks about a potential deal, which could see the two firms merged or the FlyBe Group taken over completely by Stobart, who also own Southend Airport.

Flybe has been struggling for some time and recently issued a profits warning, it is expected to lose £12m this year alone, citing Brexit uncertainty, higher fuel prices and the falling value of the British pound as the main causes of its financial hardship.

Another airline said to be interested in taking over the Exeter based FlyBe, is the regional airline Eastern Airways, owned by the Bristow Group. Eastern Airways operates a mixed fleet of British Aerospace Jetstreams, Saab 2000s, ATR72, Embraer E135, E145 and E170 jets on routes within the UK and to Europe.  

Neither FlyBe, Stobart or Eastern have made a public statement about the news reports at this stage, however an announcement is expected imminently. 

20 October, 2018

New route for FlyBe between Newquay and London Southend

It has been confirmed that a new service between Cornwall Airport Newquay and London Southend will start on 1st April next year.  The service will be under the FlyBe brand but operated by Stobart Air aircraft and crews and will start as a 5 days a week service before increasing to daily in May.  

The new service will be operated with an ATR72 aircraft with capacity for up to 72 passengers and the new link will increase the number of weekly seats being flown between Cornwall Airport Newquay and London next summer by 11.5%.

Commenting on the announcement, Al Titterington, Managing Director, Cornwall Airport Newquay said: “It is great to see that further capacity will be added to the capital for 2019 thanks to Stobart Air’s decision to open direct flights to London Southend.” Informing more on the current market between CAN and the UK capital, Titterington states: “During the first eight months of 2018 over 119,000 passengers have flown between CAN and Gatwick, a 12.8% increase over the same period of 2017. With the market between Cornwall and London continuing to go from strength-to-strength this new service comes at the perfect time.”