London gateway reopens at City of Derry Airport as Loganair comes onboard with 13 flights each week
City of Derry Airport has welcomed a new daily service to London Southend Airport with airline Loganair months after it lost its only link to the capital.
The inaugural flight took off as Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Michaela Boyle and airport staff celebrated the long-awaited connection
Loganair, which also operates direct flights to Manchester and Glasgow from the airport, will provide 13 departures to London Southend Airport per week from Londonderry.
The announcement comes after the airline announced a new partnership with Flybe which means passengers can also travel via Glasgow or Manchester with one single booking from City of Derry Airport to UK and European airports such as East Midlands, Birmingham, Exeter, Southampton, Cardiff, Jersey, Dusseldorf, Paris Charles de Gaulle or Amsterdam.
Airport manager Charlene Shongo said: "We are absolutely delighted to be celebrating Loganair's inaugural flight from City of Derry Airport to London Southend.
"The new London Southend service offers our customers a minimum of 13 departures per week, with fares starting from £39.99 per person one way, and flight times which are conveniently scheduled for a full working day at either destination.
"London Southend Airport has been rated as the Best London Airport by Which Magazine for the sixth consecutive year and we are confident it will provide a convenient and friendly passenger experience for our customers who commute to London on a regular basis.
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"The benefits of travelling via London Southend include check-in and security queues that are 10 minutes or less and a maximum three-minute walk from the departure lounge to any gate.
"There is also a direct train link to London city centre, with a journey time of just over 50 minutes. Trains depart to London Liverpool Street every 15 minutes."
Derry City and Strabane District Mayor Michaela Boyle added: "I am delighted to see the start of this service to London Southend and the continuation of the vital daily direct link to London.
"The new link offers quick and easy access to an award-winning airport offering value for money and quality of service to customers. City of Derry Airport remains an important regional gateway which many local businesses have come to rely on.
"In keeping with the ambitions of our Strategic Growth Plan and promoting regional connectivity, we are committed to developing and enhancing services and sustainability at the airport and to ensuring that City of Derry Airport is the airport of choice for the north west of Ireland," the councillor added.
Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair's managing director, said: "We're delighted to connect City of Derry with Southend Airport.
"An extremely convenient entry point to London, Essex and the South East, the airport's dedicated train station is only 100 steps from the terminal, whisking customers to Liverpool Street station in only 53 minutes.
"The route is ideal for business travellers, but it will also be popular with holidaymakers in both directions, eager to explore London and South East England as well as everything Northern Ireland's north west has to offer," he added.
City of Derry Airport suffered a major blow earlier this year when it lost its only flight to London.
Airline Flybmi, which operated flights from the airport to London Stansted, announced in February that it had gone into administration, cancelling all of its flights.
City of Derry Airport described the Flybmi London route as "crucial" and a "key element to the sustainability" of the airport.
Mr Clive Coleman, Regional & City Airport's contracts director, said: "We are delighted to retain this important air link between City of Derry Airport and London. This is a very welcome boost for both the airport and the wider north west region.
"A direct air link with a London airport is imperative for this region - and its business community."
Mr Coleman stated that "the double daily service has already proven very popular with business and leisure travellers throughout the north west with Loganair indicating strong sales to date".