A new daily air service from Inverness to London City Airport is being hailed as a major boost for Moray’s business and leisure travellers.
The decision by Flybe means that two domestic airlines will be going head to head for passengers to the capital with budget airline easyJet operating a regular service to Gatwick.
Flybe has seen a turnaround in its fortunes since relinquishing its Gatwick slots to easyJet, saying at the time that the Gatwick service had become unsustainable because of increased airport charges and air passenger duty.
Now Flybe say that launching their new route in October was the result of rigorous analysis of the profitability of the Inverness route.
Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd announced the new flights in a letter to stakeholders in which managing director Inglis Lyon said: “This new London route – the third now available from Inverness – will complement existing services to Luton and Gatwick. The new service will operate twice a day, utilising a 78 seat Dash 8 aircraft.
“London City is the closest to London and offers convenient access to the city’s financial centre, making it an ideal hub for business passengers. The airport also offers connections to 45 destinations across Europe and the US.”
Angus Robertson MP welcomed the news of competition for passengers, saying that it would provide a boost to Moray’s own economic development. He said: “Having additional services from Inverness is a boost not just for the airport, which employs a number of people from Moray but for the whole region in terms of business connectivity and in boosting visitor numbers.
“London City is the closest to the centre of London and offers an attractive flight option for business and leisure passengers. The continuing growth in passenger numbers at Inverness is significantly important for Moray’s economic development, especially the west of Moray.
“The Scottish Government, along with the rail network, is also committed to developing a new station serving Inverness Airport.
“The combination of these improved services, the planned dualling of the A96 and A9 and infrastructure investment will help to drive economic growth and jobs across Moray.”