MORE routes could be coming soon to Southend Airport after bosses admitted they were in discussions with “potential new partners”.
Planes currently jet off to 15 European destinations from the airport, but speculation has been raised that new routes to Denmark, Romania and Turkey could be on the horizon.
Industry website Anna Aero - airline network news and analysis - has listed five new potential routes for the airport to Copenhagen in Denmark, Frankfurt in Germany, Glasgow, Madrid in Spain and Zurich in Switzerland. Another website, therouteshop.com, which markets potential routes to airlines, has gone further and listed Nice in France, Munich in Germany, Budapest in Hungary, Dalaman and Antalya in Turkey, Rome in Italy, Lanzarote, Mahon in Menorca, Bucharest in Romania and Gibraltar as potential destinations.
A spokesman for the airport admitted talks were taking place.
He said: “We are working closely with all our current partners – as well as speaking to potential new ones – in order to offer an even wider variety of destinations for business and leisure travellers.
“As soon as we do have new routes confirmed then you will be the first to know.”
Last year the airport flew one million passengers to holiday and business destinations. The Stobart Group, which bought the airport in 2008, has invested £120 million. The new £10million terminal extension, offering more check in desks is opening soon, while a train station, an air traffic control tower, terminal building, runway extension, 4-star Holiday Inn and radar have all been built.
Website therouteshop.com says major reasons to serve Southend Airport are the facts its a new airport, has a brand new railway station linking it with Stratford and London Liverpool Street, competitive charges and excellent slot availability. It lists its key facts as having a catchment area population of potential fliers of 5.4 million people within an hour and 19.3 million within two hours.
*HOLIDAY rather than city break destinations would prove most successful for Southend Airport according to a local travel agent.
Ian Burns, owner of Travel Smart in the Victoria shopping centre, Southend, welcomed more flights added to Southend’s schedule. He said their most popular destinations for sales were Faro in Portugal and Mallorca. For cities Barcelona and Amsterdam have been big sellers.
Mr Burns, who has been in business for 14 years, said: “The more destinations they get, the better. Holiday places rather than cities seem to be more popular, so we’d welcome more of those.
“If they did go to Lanzarote that would be popular like Tenerife is currently. They could do with running that all year not stopping in March as they plan to.
“If they can get to Turkey and Bodrum especially that would sell well.
“But I do think they are missing an opportunity by not opening up the Greek islands like Corfu as they are within three hours and popular places.”
Southend Airport flies each week to Amsterdam, Alicante, Barcelona, Belfast, Berlin, Edinburgh, Faro, Geneva, Ibiza, Jersey, Krakow, Malaga, Mallorca, Tenerife and Venice with easyJet. Aer Lingus has three daily return services to Dublin, where travellers can get transatlantic connections to Boston, Chicago, New York, Orlando, San Francisco and Toronto