AIRLINES need clarity over Brexit as uncertainty is blamed for cancelled routes.

Glyn Jones, chief executive officer at Stobart Aviation, which owns Southend Airport, has said efficient travel must be maintained.


Good news - Mr Jones, left, announces a new partnership with Scottish airline Loganair

Mr Jones said: “You hear a lot of companies saying they’re prepared for Brexit, but the truth is we can’t be prepared.

“All we want is clarity. Putting aside all the politics of it, half of the passengers coming to us from Alicante in Spain are from the UK, we have so many travelling there and other places frequently.

“I can’t for the life of me see why anyone would want to make travel more difficult, it’s a democratising process, it moves people around, gets them along to business and leisure, having a smooth travel flow is vital for us.”

Mr Jones’ comments come after Air Malta stopped taking bookings for flights between Southend and Cagliari and Catania in Italy, a year after they were introduced.

The airline previously stated it made “seasonal capacity trimmings” by diverting Southend flights to Gatwick Airport due to low numbers over the winter season.

However, there are now no options on Air Malta’s website to book any flights from Southend to Catania and Cagliari on any date.

Travellers believe they are cancelling the flights six weeks before departure date and not giving passengers any options to book them.

Lorraine Cuthbertson, of Canvey, has had flights to Catania at the end of March and beginning of April cancelled, along with another cancellation on January 24.

She said: “I believe that Air Malta had, already changed their operational schedule in late 2018 and that they are no longer operating direct flights between Southend and Catania, and they are operating a policy of only cancelling flights six weeks prior.

“It is not possible to book flights online or over the telephone, so there is no possibility of increasing passengers on their flights. They appear to be cancelling bookings on a rolling basis.

“Online, the direct flight is no longer available and hasn’t been for some time. I wonder how many more unsuspecting people have flights booked in the future that are still outside that six week deadline for when they will likely be notified.”

Ms Cuthbertson, who spends a lot of time in Sicily, Italy, said she booked four flights from Southend to Catania, with only one going ahead, which flew on December 20, which she claimed had only 25 passengers.

The airline only introduced the Catania and Cagliari routes, along with one to Malta, in February last year at Southend Airport.

Previous passengers have stated that their flight which was initially due to go from Southend had been diverted to fly from Gatwick Airport in London.