Norwegian launches London Gatwick-Miami route

The European low fares airline, Norwegian, has launched its first-ever service from London Gatwick to Miami International Airport, on March 31.

With the new service, travellers will have a daily nonstop option between Miami and London Gatwick Airport. The service will be operated using Norwegian’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that seats 344 passengers in a two-class configuration.

Norwegian CEO and Founder, Bjorn Kjos, said: ‘South Florida is one of our most important markets in the U.S., and by moving our London service to Miami, we will become even more competitive and offer more South Florida residents more affordable flights to London and beyond, while we will also have access to many more opportunities, including cargo. We are very committed to this market, and look forward to increasing our presence at MIA in the future.’

Commenting on the new service, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, said: ‘I applaud Norwegian for adding Miami-Dade County to its global network. The United Kingdom is already our County’s fifth-busiest international travel market, and Norwegian’s new daily flights are sure to generate even more tourism from that region and from across Europe as well.’

‘We are honored by Norwegian’s decision to launch first-ever Miami service, which provides our passengers with yet another nonstop travel option to Europe. We proudly welcome their award-winning service to MIA, where nearly one million passengers already travel to and from the United Kingdom annually,’ added Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director and CEO Lester Sola.

Norwegian airline operates more than 500 routes to over 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Thailand, Caribbean, North and South America.

Virgin Atlantic announces new service to Sao Paulo from Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will launch flights between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2020.

The daily service – the 11 hr 55 min flight – between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport is Virgin Atlantic’s first to the South American continent. Sao Paulo is the commercial capital of Brazil and one of the largest cities in the Americas for multinational companies to have offices, and will enable Virgin Atlantic to expand its offering to existing corporate customers.

The airline will operate a Boeing 787 aircraft boasting Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, Premium and Economy Delight, Classic and Light offerings.

Flights to Sao Paulo are on sale later this year.

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic executive vice president – Commercial, commented, ‘2019 marks the start of a new phase of growth for Virgin Atlantic as we work to become the most loved travel company. Sao Paulo represents an incredible opportunity for our business, and we’re very excited to be flying to a brand new continent for the first time. There are a significant number of corporate customers, and multi-national businesses, located in this Powerhouse of South America who can now enjoy the Virgin Atlantic experience on this busy international route.’

‘But it’s not all about business – I’m also thrilled to introduce an exciting new destination to our leisure customers. Sao Paulo boasts numerous cultural institutions such as the Museu de Arte, has a rich architectural history, and acts as a gateway for leisure travel within the rest of Brazil and beyond. This is a prime opportunity for Virgin Holidays who are busy securing a range of ancillary partners and diverse accommodation options for those customers seeking a full-service holiday offering.’

Virgin Atlantic is set to become the founding member of a new, $13bn transatlantic joint venture with over 300 daily transatlantic flights and 96 non-stop transatlantic routes, alongside Delta, Air France and KLM as well as launching new services from London Heathrow to Las Vegas, Manchester to Los Angeles and London Heathrow to Tel Aviv.

Loganair to launch new London Southend service from Aberdeen

Aberdeen Airport has announced a new service by Loganair to London Southend.

The new route is part of Loganair’s plan to introduce three major new routes – Glasgow, Stornoway and Aberdeen – between Scotland and London Southend Airport.

As per the plan, Aberdeen will have three non-stop flights to London Southend each way every weekday from May 12, together with Sunday services. The travel times are 1 hour and 35 minutes from Aberdeen – followed by a 53-minute train service directly into central London’s Liverpool Street station. The services will all be operated by Loganair’s Embraer 145 regional jet aircraft,

Loganair’s Managing Director, Jonathan Hinkles, said, ‘We’re incredibly excited to be offering the first new air links between London and northern Scotland in many years. These new fast and frequent flights to London’s favourite airport, together with our inclusive checked baggage allowance and on-board service, make this a hugely significant development for both Scotland-London air links and Loganair.’

‘Southend is a very convenient and well-positioned gateway to the capital. It has been voted the UK’s Best Airport three times, perfectly complementing Loganair’s recently earned European Airline of the Year accolade.

Steve Szalay, Aberdeen International Airport Managing Director said: ‘Regional connectivity to London is essential to Aberdeen for both business and leisure purposes and London Southend offers a new alternative for our passengers.

‘The beauty of the new London Southend service lies in the ease of access to central London. With train services to Liverpool Street taking less than an hour, passengers can reach the heart of London in quick time and get their trip off to the best possible start.

‘Southend itself offers seaside fun with its historic pier, great views of the Estuary and seven miles of beaches and makes for the perfect staycation destination.

‘We warmly welcome the London Southend service operated by Loganair and look forward to seeing our passengers take advantage of improved London connectivity.’

Loganair will reportedly be the only airline flying to London whose fares all include a 20kg checked baggage allowance. Fares will start from £49.99 from Aberdeen to London Southend. Tickets are on sale at www.loganair.co.uk and via major travel agency systems including Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport under Loganair’s LM flight code.

Eastern Airways announces new London City service from Newcastle Airport

Eastern Airways, a franchise partner of Flybe, has commenced a brand new service from Newcastle Airport to London City starting January 7.

The new route is the only direct scheduled flight connecting Newcastle with central London. Eastern Airways will operate a morning and evening peak service taking 70-minutes flight time each-way direct into London City Airport. Flights are now on sale up to winter 2019, and the service is expected to carry over 17,000 passengers during 2019. Fares start from £79.99 one way, inclusive of taxes and charges, and are bookable at flybe.com.

Richard Knight, Chief Operating Officer at Newcastle Airport, said: ‘It is very exciting to see any brand new route take off, but it is particularly special to know that this route will make such a difference to people based in the North East.

‘London City is a fantastic new service to add to our list of destinations, and we expect that it will particularity popular with busy business commuters heading down to the capital.

‘We expect this service to deliver an increase of tourist traffic to and from the region.’

Roger Hage, Eastern Airways’ General Manager Commercial & Operations, added: ‘It is vital that cities like Newcastle, and the North East region as a whole, has strong links with the capital – and our new London City service, on behalf of Flybe, offers the most convenient air link to reach the city and central London.

‘London City Airport’s location allows for easy, swift access to Canary Wharf and the London underground for both business and leisure travellers.’

Eastern Airways’ first flight of the day departs from Newcastle Airport at 8:05am, with passengers arriving in London City at 9.15am. An additional evening flight departs Newcastle Airport at 5.50pm, for arrival in London City at 7pm. Return flights from London City Airport depart twice a day at 9:45am and 7.30pm. On Sundays, an evening flight operates from Newcastle Airport at 5.50pm.

Flyone launches new Chisinau – London service

Moldovan low-cost air carrier FlyOne has announced the launch of a new flight route from Chisinau to London.

Known as Moldova’s wine and food-loving capital, Chisinau has origins dating back six centuries, to 1420. The new destination will offer Flyone passengers increased opportunities to explore new tourist attractions. The new service will mark the beginning of FlyOne’s operations at London Southend International Airport.

Starting from July 19, 2019, the airline will offer direct flights to London (SEN). The price for a one-way ticket starts from EUR69.00. The flights will be operated twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

‘By launching direct flights to London, FLYONE intends to offer new horizons to passengers and the opportunity to visit their families and friends as often as possible. We appreciate our collaboration with London Southend Airport and are convinced that we will offer our passengers a safe, comfortable and affordable flight alternative,’ said Mircea MALECA, General Director of FlyOne.

‘London Southend is delighted to welcome FLYONE passengers to our rapidly growing airport. Passengers will be able to take advantage of our fast and efficient terminal and excellent transport links, including a train station next to the airport offering regular trains to the center of London in under an hour,’ said Glyn Jones, CEO, London Southend Airport.

This destination will be operated by an Airbus A319 aircraft. Launched in 2016, Flyone currently operates direct flights to 12 destinations, seven regular routes and five charter routes: London, Moscow, Parma, Verona, Dublin, Lisbon, Paris, Antalya, Heraklion, Izmir, Sharm El Sheikh, and Bodrum.

London Gatwick announces new route to Shanghai by China Eastern

London Gatwick has launched a new route to Shanghai, offering British passengers direct access to one of China’s key business hubs.

Operated by China Eastern, Gatwick’s new service to Shanghai Pudong Airport will operate three times every week – on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Operated using an Airbus A330-200, the route will provide over 70,000 seats and over 3,700 metric tonnes of cargo capacity – in both directions – every year.

China’s largest city, Shanghai is one of the world’s fastest-developing metropolises. The focal point of China’s growth story, Shanghai dominates the Yangtze River Economic Zone – a region accounting for 20 percent of China’s GDP. In addition to being a global financial hub and the centre for trade, technology and real estate within China, Shanghai is also an attractive tourist destination, known for its unique style of architecture.

Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport said: ‘The addition of one of the world’s biggest financial centres to Gatwick’s route network is very good news for the UK, particularly as connections to China and other non-European countries are set to take on extra significance in the New Year and beyond.

‘With China being one of the UK’s main trading partners, this is a vital business route connecting two of the world’s most important cities – but Shanghai is equally an exciting and much sought-after tourist destination. We’re pleased to welcome China Eastern to Gatwick for the first time and are delighted that our passengers now have direct access to everything that China’s largest city has to offer.’

The new Shanghai route comes after an increased demand from Gatwick passengers for flights to China. The number of passengers travelling to China from Gatwick increased by 54.3 percent year-on-year during the first half of the current financial year.

Gatwick operates over 60 different long haul routes, with one in six of the airport’s 46 million annual passengers now travelling to long-haul destinations, the airport noted.

London Heathrow to commence new flights to Cornwall from April 2019

London Heathrow Airport will commence a new direct air route to Newquay from April 2019, offering passengers a greater range of choice, the UK Secretary of State for Transport has announced.

The new route comes as the government seeks to ensure all regions of the UK are well served by airports and routes to the rest of the country. A public service obligation, the route will be jointly funded by a government and Cornwall Council initiative and will give passengers a choice of more than 200 destinations across 85 countries.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘The government has been clear that maintaining and enhancing air routes that help bring together the UK, is one of the key benefits of any expansion at Heathrow.

‘This new route will see the people of the South West profit from a direct connection into our national hub airport even before it expands, building on the government’s ongoing commitment to the Newquay route, protecting choice and strengthening trade and travel opportunities for the whole UK.’

Cornwall Airport Newquay’s Managing Director, Al Titterington, said: ‘We have been working for many years to make sure that Cornwall Airport Newquay has direct access to Europe’s busiest hub, and with this new service it opens not just a connection to the UK’s leading gateway, but also the world.

By having direct flights to Heathrow, it grows the strength of Newquay and Cornwall’s brand abroad, which is great for the local business community and those wanting to visit our beautiful county.’

John Holland Kaye, CEO at Heathrow airport said: ‘We are delighted to secure a more regular service to Newquay, connecting exporters from Cornwall to global markets through Heathrow and making it easier for inward investors, tourists and students from all over the world to get there.

‘Following the successful launch in 2016 of an Inverness service, the UK’s two furthest mainland airports will now be connected to the UK’s biggest port.’

Airlines flying to any UK destination from Heathrow will continue to benefit from a £15 discount on airport charges. This is only one in a package of measures that Heathrow is implementing to support more domestic flights within the UK, the airport said.

British Airways announces new flights to Rome from London City Airport

British Airways has recently announced the launch of new flights to the capital city of Rome from London City Airport.

The year-round service is the fourth Italian city to be served by British Airways direct from the Docklands and will operate every day except Saturday. Each way hand baggage only fares to Rome from £70 are available on www.ba.com

British Airways’ airport manager, Andrea Sperini, said: ‘I’m very proud to see the Italian capital becoming part of our network. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe and a treasury of art, history, traditions, politics and local food – almost anyone can find something to explore and enjoy. ‘

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager commercial and customer, said: ‘We are delighted to add another capital city to our schedule taking the number of routes we fly from London City to Europe up to 34. Rome is a destination that will be welcomed by both our leisure and business customers and alongside Florence, Milan and Venice will be our fourth route to Italy.’

Richard Hill, Chief Commercial Officer at London City Airport, said: ‘By adding another major European city to its network, British Airways is creating further choice for tourists and business travellers who want to use London’s most central airport as their bridge to the continent.

‘Like London, Rome is an iconic destination, bursting with culture, history, and home to an international business district, and the route is an attractive addition for customers to and from Italy’s capital city. Ahead of a 20 per cent boost in capacity during 2019, this new service further underlines British Airways’ continued investment in their London City operation.’

British Airways is investing £4.5 billion over the next five years for improving customer experience. As part of that investment the airline recently unveiled a brand-new lounge at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. Spread over 460 square metres, the space can host almost 140 customers.

In addition, British Airways will offer WiFi and power in every seat, fit 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and take delivery of 72 new aircraft. The airline will also be introducing new Club World seat with direct aisle access next year, it said.

Gatwick announces more flights to Lapland for winter

London Gatwick has said that it will offer more flights to Lapland compared to UK airport this winter – with a total of 120 flights bound for the home of Father Christmas in December.

Six destinations in and around the Lapland region – Enontekio, Ivalo, Kittila, Kuusamo, Tromso and the capital, Rovaniemi – can all be reached direct from Gatwick. In comparison, the UK airport with the second highest number of Lapland services in December is offering a third fewer flights than Gatwick.

The expansion of services comes in response to growing demand from British tourists to visit Lapland in the northernmost region of Finland.

Last December, the number of British visitors to Rovaniemi was up 13.9 percent on the previous year. In October 2018, the number of passengers heading to Rovaniemi from Gatwick almost tripled year-on-year.

The airport has also launched several new winter routes offering more choice for their Christmas market destination. easyJet has already launched new flights to Aarhus and Warsaw, while British Airways will start operating new services to Cologne and Lyon in the coming weeks.

In addition, in December, Gatwick will offer more flights than ever before to the European cities with some of the most renowned Christmas markets in the world – with 315 flights going to Amsterdam, 306 to Geneva and 227 to Copenhagen.

Stephen King, Head of Airline Relations, Gatwick Airport said: ‘It’s fitting that Gatwick now offers more flights to Lapland than any other UK airport, as this winter wonderland is the ultimate family destination and Gatwick is widely recognised as the ultimate family airport. The number of Brits travelling to Lapland for a winter escape is rapidly increasing every year and we’re pleased to be responding to that demand.

‘If meeting Father Christmas or going on a sleigh ride doesn’t tick the winter holiday box, Gatwick’s short-haul network of over 160 routes offers something for everyone, with new services to breath-taking destinations like Aarhus and Cologne and more flights than ever before to many of our passengers’ old favourites.’

London Gatwick opens sensory room for departing passengers

London Gatwick has become the first UK airport to open a sensory room for its passengers, offering a relaxing, private and interactive environment to calm people who may feel in busy and unfamiliar airport surroundings.

Located in the North Terminal, the new sensory space is designed for passengers with autism, dementia, cognitive impairment or other special needs to help them feel at ease before their flight. Passengers using the sensory room can transform the space from a calming and relaxing environment to a stimulating interactive space full of light and sound with the flick of a switch.

The ‘chill-out zone’ for those needing calm includes floor cushions, bean bags and digital display panels, which generate colourful visual wall features. The separate ‘interactive zone’ stimulates the senses through tactile panels, textures and a game to improve memory, motor skills and encourages learning. The free to use room is available only to departing passengers and their families or carers who can book a 45-minute session at the North Terminal’s special assistance desk after the security check.

Gatwick Airport’s Head of Terminal Operations, Andy Pule, said: ‘We recognise airports can be stressful environments for some passengers, which is why we are extremely proud to offer this new space for them to relax in and enjoy before their flight.

‘Gatwick is committed to providing passengers who have a disability of any kind with the support and services required to ensure their time at the airport is as comfortable as possible and this remains a key area of focus for the airport.’

Autism Ambassador for Gatwick Airport, Maria Cook, said: ‘I cannot thank the whole team involved in this project enough for making it a reality. Working closely with Gatwick I explained the vast benefits of having such a wonderful facility available and the positive impact it has for people with complex conditions and their families and they did not hesitate to create something very special indeed. It is the most amazing Sensory Room I have ever seen.’

Specific activities to experience in the room include: the Catherine Wheel Panel with colour and sound displays including firework effects; Abstract Tactile Panels featuring raised and recessed fluid shapes in contrasting textures; Colour Match Panel with classical music, mood lighting, and game to improve memory, colour recognition and motor skills; Sound to Light Showtime; Waterless Rainbow Tube with a colour wheel offering calming and stimulating effects; Interactive Giant Causeway which can activate colourful lights; Activity Board encouraging motor movement, coordination and sensory skills and Infinity and Beyond Panel offering visual and auditory effects using range of shapes, sounds, patterns and speeds.