Flybe, the UK’s Number One Domestic airline, today operated its first flight from Manston to Edinburgh that, with a suitably Scottish send-off, also marked the return of daily scheduled passenger services from Kent International Airport.
On hand to welcome the first inbound passengers and see the Kent passengers on board was Flybe’s Head of Public Relations, Niall Duffy and the team from Infratil, the airport’s owners, led by Tom Wilson, Chief Executive of Infratil Airports Europe. They were joined by Cllr Alan Marsh from Kent County Council; and Cllr Roger Latchford, Deputy Leader of Thanet District Council and his fellow councillors.
The passengers were piped aboard by members of the Pipes & Drums of 5Scots Battalion based in Canterbury before taking off on Flybe’s fuel efficient 78- seat Bombardier Q-400 aircraft for their 80-minute flight to the Scottish capital. Before boarding the passengers also enjoyed a celebratory glass of Kent-produced Chapel Down sparkling wine. Two of the first passengers to arrive and depart on the special inaugural flight were presented with food hampers generously given by Visit Kent and Scottish Food and Drink.
Mr Duffy said: “We’re delighted to add this new service and be the first carrier to offer Kent travellers a scheduled service from the county. It also reflects our commitment to continued growth from our Edinburgh base and also to our development into new regions.”
Added Mr Wilson: “This new service demonstrates Manston’s capabilities as a regional airport for the South East and with it the prospect of a further 50,000 passengers using the airport each year. It also reinforces Flybe’s reputation for offering an extensive choice of convenient, affordable regional travel.
“We are confident that business and residents in the county will vote with their feet when looking to travel to Manchester and choose Flybe from Manston rather than driving or going by train.”
The significance of the new daily service to the tourism industry at both destinations was reflected by the presence of the Visit Scotland bus and a team from Visit Kent, the county’s tourism industry champions while, earlier in the day, a Visit Kent team had greeted passengers at Edinburgh Airport to promote the route and highlight the organisation’s new ‘Kent contemporary’ campaign with special Garden of England invites.
Flybe’s new daily scheduled passenger services between Manston and Edinburgh will continue through to the Winter 2010 schedule so ensuring a daily year-round service on the route.