bmi regional is launching daily air links between Edinburgh and Jersey after becoming one of the first airlines to receive funding from a Scottish Executive initiative to encourage the introduction of new direct routes.
The Aberdeen-based airline is expanding its existing seasonal Saturday-only service and will now operate one flight every day of the week, with up to three on Saturdays at the peak of the summer, using a 49-seat Embraer jet aircraft. A business class service is also being introduced on the route, giving passengers more choice. Weekend services resume on 30 March and weekday services are launched on 19 May.
The Interim Route Development Fund was set up last November by Iain Gray, the Scottish Executive`s Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning, to provide £6.8 million over three years to help secure new routes which offer the greatest benefit in terms of business links, inward investment and inbound tourism.
Alex Grant, managing director of bmi regional, said: “Following the Minister`s announcement of the initiative we have been working closely with fund administrators Scottish Enterprise to evaluate the international opportunities available from Scotland. The daily Jersey route is the first manifestation of this co-operation.
“We will continue to work with Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Executive and other partners over the coming months, with the intention of introducing further new international services in 2004.
“The launch of this route is the ideal opportunity for bmi regional to bring its excellent levels of service and extremely competitive fares to air services linking these two major financial centres.”
Iain Gray, Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning, said: “I am delighted to welcome bmi`s announcement which will allow for the development of vital links between two of the UK`s top financial centres, benefiting not just the people of Edinburgh but also the rest of Scotland.
“The fund has attracted keen interest from airports and airlines and has been welcomed by the industry. I am aware that bmi remains committed to developing further European routes from Scotland and we will continue to negotiate with them and other operators to ensure further new routes to and from Scotland are opened up.”
Passengers flying on the new route will benefit from an all-jet, full-service operation, offering both business and economy classes on weekdays, a frequent flyer programme, as well as a competitive one-way fare structure. This enables travellers to choose from the lowest available fare on each leg of their journey, without being restricted by minimum stay requirements. Fares from Edinburgh to Jersey will start at £71 one-way (internet economy fare, including all taxes).
bmi regional has built on its route network which has been matched by consistent passenger growth over the past year, particularly on services to and from Scotland, which have carried 71 per cent of all the airline`s passengers. The frequency and capacity of many services have been increased, and new initiatives such as Aberdeen-Norwich and Edinburgh-Stornoway routes introduced.