Cambridge airport boosted by introduction of Swiss carrier

Cambridge airport in the UK has been boosted by the introduction of new routes to be operated by a Swiss airline.

Swiss carrier Darwin is establishing Cambridge as a new base for routes to Amsterdam in the Netherlands; the French capital, Paris; Milan in Italy; and Geneva in Switzerland. Operations will commence from September 2, and will involve 50 flights per week in and out of Cambridge. Of these, 24 flights per week will be from or to Amsterdam, 12 will serve Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, 8 will operate to Milan Malpensa, and 6 will serve Geneva.

The flights will utilise Darwin’s fleet of Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft that each have a seating capacity of 50. As a member of Skyteam, Darwin will codeshare on the routes with Alitalia, and flights booked on Alitalia’s AZ code will be included in Skyteam’s Flying Blue rewards scheme that also includes Air France and Netherland’s-based carrier, KLM.

Cambridge airport has been looking to improve its profile and attract new carriers with improvements to its facilities that include complimentary wifi and a new business lounge.

Darwin Airline’s CEO, Maurizio Merlo, said, ‘As we expand within Europe, the UK is a key market for us to further establish and we are delighted to open our new base in the heart of East England. Cambridge is at the forefront of several business sectors and spearheading the UK’s economic growth – it is thriving and vibrant, one of the UK’s most valuable and affluent markets.’

Fares for the new flights start from £119 per person one way and £159 per person for return bookings.

Tourist tax suggested to protect Cambridge

When most of Britain is trying to encourage tourism, one of the most popular cities has said they have to many visitors.

 

Cambridge is so worried about too many tourists that it is considering taxing them to protect the historic town from over crowding.

 

The former Mayor said his ideas to limit budget hotels so that visitors couldn’t come for mini breaks, and introduce an obligatory Cambridge Pass for tourists to buy, were ‘draconian’, but claims they are necessary.

 

Cllr John Hipkin wants to turn Cambridge into a high-quality heritage and culture place and thinks tourists should be subsidising public services in the city.

 

He has said that tourists ‘take-over’ parts of the city, and residents no longer go there. For example Quayside and King’s Parade are said to be ‘off-limits’ for locals.

 

Cllr Hipkin said: ‘Some will consider these suggested measures to control tourism draconian and so they may be but, without strong policies to stabilise or reduce tourist numbers, the character of the city and its amenities, especially in the peak season, will continue to deteriorate.

 

‘We need a new vision of Cambridge as a tourist destination and all those who care for the city must unite to ensure that it is realised.

 

‘The vision is of a high calibre, long-stay heritage and culture city at the hub of connections to nearby sites of historic and natural interest.

 

‘Casual short-stay tourism should be discouraged.’

 

Cllr John Hipkin has cautioned that the city is becoming overloaded with tourists, with four million visiting every year.

 

But Diane Thompson, general manager of the Royal Cambridge Hotel, said attracting a range of tourists was what keeps the cities economy going.

 

She said: ‘I don’t think we can turn on one tap and switch off another because it doesn’t work like that.’