Belfast Telegraph

Flybe announces City route to Kent

By Clare Weir

A new air route from Northern Ireland to the south of England has been launched.

Flybe will now travel between George Best Belfast City Airport and Manston, Kent's International Airport, bringing the number of direct services offered from the city to 17.

Beginning on May 26, the service will provide return flights every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Announcing the new flights, Mike Rutter, Flybe's chief commercial officer, said: "The addition of Manston to our route network opens up the south east of England to our passengers in Northern Ireland enabling new opportunities for both business and leisure travel."

Described as the "garden of England", Kent offers more castles, stately homes and gardens than any other county in England and boasts a number of blue-flag beaches.

The world-famous White Cliffs of Dover, Canterbury Cathedral and Dover Castle are also close to Manston.

Charles Buchanan, chief executive officer of Manston airport, added: "We are very hopeful that this initial thrice- weekly service to Belfast will be increased with a rise in demand and aircraft availability."

Seats are on sale at from £29.99 one way, including taxes and charges.

Exeter-based Flybe said January had got off to a good start against Britain's big freeze seen a year earlier with the number of seats flown up 9% last month.

The firm, which has already revealed a £6m hit from the December snow, said extra charges on top of standard ticket sales surged 11.2% to £22.8m in the quarter.

Flybe's passenger revenue per seat rose 4.1% in the third quarter and remained stable in January. The group, which is Britain's biggest domestic airline, floated in December to raise around £60m for expansion plans.