New flights to sun from East Anglia

FLIGHTS to holiday sunspots are to be reinstated at Norwich International after airport bosses signed a new deal with a Spanish airline.Norwich is the first airport in the UK to join forces with budget airline LTE International Airways in a partnership which aims to create an air bridge between East Anglia and the continent.

FLIGHTS to holiday sunspots are to be reinstated at Norwich International after airport bosses signed a new deal with a Spanish airline.

Norwich is the first airport in the UK to join forces with budget airline LTE International Airways in a partnership which aims to create an air bridge between East Anglia and the continent.

It means that from September passengers can sun themselves in the likes of Alicante, Palma da Mallorca and Barcelona within about two hours of Norwich rather than travel to Stansted or other airports.

Last night, the airport's managing direct Richard Jenner said: “We think this is great news for the airport.

“Norwich is the only UK airport they are going to be flying from and they want to be the airline for Norwich when it comes to flying to Spain.

“We are not just launching some new routes. We are launching a new airline offering mainland holiday destinations.”

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LTE will initially kick off with once-a-week flights to Palma da Mallorca and Barcelona, both of which will be available to Norwich passengers for the first time. Alicante, which was dropped by Flybe last November, will also make a return to the timetable.

All fares are expected to be about £69 each way including taxes.

“They will go there all year round,” added Mr Jenner.

“The aircraft they are using is quite large - a 180-seater - so they are starting off quite cautiously with one flight a week at weekends.

“Barcelona is a great city and is also good for serving the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada, and from there you can go up to the Pyrenees so it really is an all-year-round destination.

“There will be other operators hoping to buy seat allocations so we hope to attract package holidays as a result.”

The announcement, to be made formally today, coincides with LTE's 21st birthday this weekend and follows weeks of speculation about the future of Norwich flights.

Flybe dropped its services to sun spots Malaga and Alicante last year, blaming the airport's controversial £3 terminal tax, and recently axed flights to Glasgow. Direct services to Paris will only be available once a week.

It sparked outrage when it drafted in actors and staff to fill extra flights to Dublin earlier this month to try and claim a £280,000 rebate from the airport.

The airline has insisted it is “100pc” committed to Norwich International, despite concern from passengers about its future plans.

Mr Jenner would not discuss the future of Flybe yesterday.

Michael Harrington, managing director of the Palma-based airline, said: “We are genuinely excited about launching these new flights. These will be our first scheduled flights from a regional airport in the UK and we have chosen Norwich because of its strong local catchment area and the support we have had from the airport. We want to establish ourselves as the reference airline for Spanish destinations from Norwich and we are looking forward to extending the range of destinations served and frequency of flights.”

Christopher How, cabinet member for economic development at Norfolk County Council - which retains a minority stake in the airport - said: “This is obviously very good and very welcome news for Norwich International. It is also excellent news for people from this part of world seeking a bit of sun in Spain. I hope it will also mean people will come in the other direction to explore everything our wonderful county and city has to offer.”