Flybe, the low-cost British airline, has announced eight additional routes to European destinations from Cardiff Airport, bringing the total from there to 11, as it expands its operations across the continent and goes head-to-head with larger no-frills carriers such as easyJet and Ryanair.
Flybe announced the opening of a new base at the Welsh airport, which will serve people not only in Wales but around southwest England. The carrier had already been flying from Cardiff to Belfast, Dusseldorf and Jersey and now adds Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh, Faro, Glasgow, Munich, Milan and Paris to its network.
Cork, in the southernmost region of the Irish republic, has become an increasingly important international business and tourism destination, as has the country’s capital Dublin, attracting many people from Wales and across the UK for weekend and longer breaks to sample the famous Irish hospitality and “craic”. Edinburgh has long been a tourism favourite and the new air route from Cardiff will give people in the region additional flight choices. (For more on Cork and Dublin, visit www.discoverireland.ie/Places-To-Go.)
Sun-starved sun lovers in Wales will now be able to travel with Flybe to the stunning Algarve region of Portugal, with the opening of the route to Faro. It’s the southernmost city in the country and the favoured summer holiday destination of many in the UK. Holidaymakers can explore this ancient city steeped in culture and use it as their gateway to the dazzling beaches in the area. (Find out more about fascinating Faro at www.lonelyplanet.com/portugal/the-algarve/faro.)
Glasgow has come into its own in recent years as a top UK shopping destination, and is now known for its trendy locals and great style. The picturesque German city of Munich is always a favourite with travellers, particularly around Oktoberfest time – but lucky visitors can down more beer than they’d care to remember at the famous and cavernous Hofbrauhaus at any time of the year.
Milan is at the pinnacle of European style and fashion, and with its extraordinarily striking architecture it’s the perfect choice for a getaway (more at www.tourism.milan.it). The same is also true of the romantic French capital; Paris is eternally popular among visitors from just about everywhere. The added destinations could result in cheaper fares for passengers as the low-cost rivals battle it out for bums on seats.
Flybe’s chief, Lebanon-born Saad Hammad, who at one time was chief commercial officer of easyJet, said the new routes were devised under a decade-long deal with Cardiff Airport management, and that it helped the airline in its efforts to utilise grounded aircraft in a scheme known as Project Blackbird.
“We are delighted to launch these exciting new routes from Cardiff Airport. As part of Project Blackbird, we have been looking to find a productive home for our surplus E195 aircraft and we are delighted at this 10-year agreement with Cardiff Airport, which involves us basing two of these jets there to serve the Welsh market with great-value fares and further improving UK regional connectivity,” he said.
Flybe, whose head office is at Exeter International Airport, Devon, began life in 1979 as Jersey European Airways and now serves more than 180 routes in more than 15 countries. The airline operates a fleet of Bombardier and Embraer jets.
Disclaimer: in association with flybe