Thursday, 17 September 2009

Are the budget airlines abandoning the regional airports?

So Gordon Brown has uttered the dreadful word "cuts" to the TUC in Liverpool, but he is not the only one thinking of this four letter word. In fact British holidaymakers may find themselves having to make longer journeys to airports, as airlines start to cut the number of regional departures in an attempt to keep costs down.

Budget airline Easyjet recently announced the cancellation of all its routes from East Midlands airport, which is going to be quite a loss to residents of the Nottingham area and thereabouts. Similarly Ryanair has cancelled nine of its 10 routes out of Manchester, which will be quite a blow to people of the north-west on the look out for cheap flights. Ryanair is also cancelling two of its flights out of the little up-and-coming airport of Doncaster, saying that the modest passenger charges of £3 a head are not sustainable.

Add to this the fact that last November Thomson pulled out of Coventry Airport, and Liverpool Airport has experienced a drop in passenger numbers of 20% this year. In fact, during the first six months of 2009, passenger numbers have fallen by a staggering 11% at British regional airports compared with 2008. All this may be gratifying to pressure groups such as Plane Stupid, who have been campaigning for an overall reduction in flying due to green considerations, but it is bad news for those hankering after affordable flights out of their local airport.

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