Flybe cuts number of Paris flights

BUDGET airline Flybe has cut the number of direct flights from Norwich to Paris to one a week.From April 28 holidaymakers hoping for a trip to the French capital now face a stop off at Jersey, except for Saturdays.

BUDGET airline Flybe has cut the number of direct flights from Norwich to Paris to one a week - it emerged yesterday.

From April 28 holidaymakers hoping for a trip to the French capital now face a stop off at Jersey, except for Saturdays.

The airline originally operated a daily service to Paris when it launched the service in May 2006.

Flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays have since been dropped and it has quietly changed the schedule to include a Jersey stopover on the majority of flights. No details were available about the impact the changes would have on journey times or ticket prices yesterday.

The news comes a week after the airline was caught up in a row over using fake passengers on its Norwich to Dublin route in a bid to secure a £280,000 bonus payment from the airport.

Airport bosses are keen for Norwich to serve as a hub to Paris in the same way that KLM flights to Amsterdam offers passengers flights across the world from Schipol.

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But Richard Jenner, airport managing director, said Flybe has operated Paris flights as a leisure route rather than a business one.

“They have cut it to just one a week, flying direct on Saturdays and during the week serving it is via Jersey,” he said.

“We are disappointed. We had big hopes that Paris would be very successful when they started it, but we understand that it's been mainly set up as a leisure route, so it's not the sort of thing that will be used by business people.”

But he said it was still possible Flybe could offer more direct flights at busier times of the season.

A Flybe spokeswoman said yesterday: “Flybe launched its Summer 2008 schedule at the end of March which includes a non-stop service from Norwich to Paris Charles de Gaulle five days a week with lead-in fares from £32.99 one way including all taxes and charges. It will operate as a direct flight via Jersey effective April 28, 2008.”

Meanwhile speculation is mounting that the budget airline is to end its sponsorship of Norwich City Football Club shirts when the current two-year deal finishes at the end of the season.

The airline had the option to extend the deal for a further year, but it is understood they have not opted not to do so.

Neither Flybe or the club would comment on the deal last night.

A club spokesman said last night: “We have a range of sponsorship deals with our friends and partners in the business community. As and when there is any concrete news about any of these deals, we will make an announcement to our fans and the media in the normal way.”

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