Fury at new flight route

CAMPAIGNERS were furious today at the promotion of new flights from Stansted to Manchester - a route for which there is perfectly adequate alternative public transport.

By Richard Cornwell

CAMPAIGNERS were furious today at the promotion of new flights from Stansted to Manchester - a route for which there is perfectly adequate alternative public transport.

Protesters are trying to persuade government there is no need for flights to and from destinations where environmentally-friendly alternatives exist and could cut carbon emissions.

Most major cities have direct rail links with Manchester already, and the northern city can be reached from London in about three-and-a-half hours.

Stop Stansted Expansion economic advisor Brian Ross said: “This flight will produce ten times the carbon emissions a train would.

“Sadly, for an industry committed to responsible growth in aviation this is pretty disappointing and it is close to irresponsible to be running these sort of flights.

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“BAA tells us it wants to run more long-haul flights to bring benefits for the business community in our region - as airports are doing in France and Germany by discouraging domestic flights - and then it uses valuable slots with these short services.”

The Stansted-Manchester service is just the sort of route Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer is against.

He said: “What is astonishing is that a quarter of the flights from London airports go to places that have better links by other methods of transport.

“If you got rid of the flights from London to Manchester or London to Liverpool those slots could be reallocated to cheap flights to Majorca and Athens which are far more sensible.

“That way there could be more cheap flights for people without increasing the overall number of planes in the skies and without increasing the damage from carbon emissions.”

But airline Eastern Airways is adamant its new 15 flights-a-week Stansted-Manchester service, which it starts on October 29, will provide extra choice for business commuters.

Chief operating officer Chris Holliday said: “We are providing an enhanced schedule with greater flexibility for business and leisure travellers. The convenience of three flights-a-day from Stansted will ensure business passengers can choose how to maximise their time in the north west.”

Do you think routes such as Stansted-Manchester should be allowed? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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