Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
It may not be a ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ moment but Cambridge Airport’s new services to Dublin and Amsterdam could herald a sea change in fortunes for Cambridgeshire.
Where Darwin Airlines had gone before – and failed - the confidence surrounding CityJet’s new schedule from Cambridge is altogether different.
Freed from its ties with Air France, the newly independent company is confident flights from Cambridge will join other parts of their business in forging a strong local business.
Certainly Sir Michael Marshall, chairman of the airport’s parent Marshall Aerospace, looked and sounded confident as he greeted the handful of passengers heading to Dublin on Monday morning.
Coffee and Danish pastries were on hand as the first passengers boarded flights to their respective destinations – the forerunner of what Sir Michael and his team believe will be a decisive step to bigger and better fortunes for Cambridge Airport.
He left it to Steve Jones, the airport’s managing director, to sum up the company’s hopes for the new twice daily flights to both cities.
“These new flights connect us with our top two air travel markets with class-leading frequency and convenience,” he said. “Ireland, the Netherlands and all those connecting destinations are hugely important to the economy of this city and region.”
The 1hr 20min flight to Dublin means you can arrive mid morning, enjoy many of the city’s tourist attractions, have time for lunch, visit the Guinness factory and some of the other 30 or so attractions, and still be back in Cambridge by 8.30pm.
But Cambridge is hoping to combine both leisure and commercial passengers as it rolls out its CityJet services.
Steve Barclay, the MP for NE Cambs, has long campaigned for improved infrastructure – and having an expanding airport on our doorstep can only be good for Cambridgeshire he says.
“It is great news that new routes from Cambridge Airport to Amsterdam and Dublin have been launched,” he said.
“This opens up opportunities for inward investment from overseas businesses, which will be more likely to consider the Fens now it is more accessible.
“It also creates export opportunities for our own businesses looking to expand. I am sure local residents will also be keen to benefit from the leisure potential offered by these quick services for short holiday breaks, and hope they take full advantage of these new services on our doorstep”.
Both routes offer a double-daily service Monday-Friday and daily at weekends, operated by CityJet’s Fokker 50 aircraft
Both routes have been also been configured to offer connections to New York, Boston, Toronto, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo.
Christine Ourmières, chief executive of CityJet, said: “We know that the market has the demand on the route and we know that we can provide vital access to these communities.”
Direct flights can be booked online at www.cityjet.com