For summer 2014, Thomson and First Choice will be flying twice a week to Palma, Majorca, and adding Ibiza to their schedule – tripling their service from London Southend Airport in just 12 months.
The move to introduce these routes is part of the UK’s largest tour operator’s strategy to ensure customers across the UK can fly from their local airport and stay at the best hotels in some of the most exciting destinations.
Not only will customers from Southend be able to fly to a new destination, there will also be an additional flight per week to the ever-popular island of Majorca, where they will have the opportunity to choose varying durations of 10 and 11 nights - not just the standard seven and 14 night stays.
Local customers will now have access to some of Thomson and First Choice’s most popular hotels including the brand new Holiday Village Ibiza which opens its doors to customers in May 2014. This fantastic new property will deliver everything a family could want in one place – great entertainment, food, kids clubs and lots of activities to keep the whole family occupied. Thomson Cruises will also be exclusively operating its cruise and cruise & stay programmes from the airport to Majorca where customers can sail on Thomson Dream which, as a Platinum ship, has had a multi-million pound makeover to offer a more modern and contemporary cruising experience in line with the Thomson Platinum beach brand.
Paul Cooper - Airport Negotiations Manager for Thomson and First Choice - explains why they have decided to expand their partnership with London Southend. “Adding these routes from London Southend Airport demonstrates our commitment to the East of England and following the success of similar routes across a number of regional airports, we know that the demand is there and we know customers are keen to fly from their local airport. Expanding access to our portfolio of destinations and hotels is a key part of our overall strategy and we hope that this move will enhance the holiday experience for our customers.”
Thomson and First Choice made the announcement during a tour of Phase 1 of the major extension to the airport terminal. The new Arrivals area is on schedule to be operational by 17 June.
Stage 1 of the terminal became operational a year ago and is less than 100 paces from the new railway station. Passengers flying out from the airport wait for a maximum of 4-minutes for security, whilst those arriving with just hand luggage can expect to travel from plane to train within 15 minutes of leaving the aircraft. This Stage 2 extension is to ensure these high standards of service are not compromised as passenger numbers grow towards 2 million per year by 2020.
The terminal building is becoming 90 metres longer and will open in phases throughout 2013. Phase 1 - the Arrivals area - will have enhanced baggage reclaim facilities and much more space for immigration as well as a dedicated domestic arrivals route.
The amount of space for passengers in the security area will increase (Phase 2 - opening October), as will the number of check in desks / baggage drop off points (Phase 3 – opening November). The Departure Lounge will also grow in size to enhance the experience for passengers relaxing and awaiting boarding after security - this 4th and final phase of the project will complete in December 2013.
The extension is also enabling 300 new, local jobs – these will arise from the increase in Southend based aircraft over time which will result in a variety of additional operational and service roles.
London Southend Airport MD Alastair Welch says “We are very pleased that Thomson and First Choice have taken the decision to expand the services they offer from London Southend so soon and we hope this will allow even more of their passengers to experience our new and expanding facilities over the next year.”