July 23 2014 Latest news:
Friday, June 6, 2014
A Government agreement has been used to protect a twice daily flight each way between Essex and Scotland.
The Department for Transport has agreed a deal with Dundee City Council worth £2.85million to keep the route open for the next two years, it was announced this morning.
It is the first time a public service obligation (PSO) has been used for such a route. Money for the PSO comes from the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, which was set up last year and doubled in this year’s budget to protect domestic flights connecting regions to London.
LoganAir will operate the route July 1. Two daily flights each way means business people and visitors will continue to be able to visit both destinations for day trips. Each flight takes around an hour and a half.
Robert Goodwill, UK aviation minister, said: “This funding from the Regional Air Connectivity fund, the first of its kind, is good news. Regional airports have a key role to play in our long term economic plan for the nation’s future prosperity, and the government is committed to ensuring they have access to London and vice versa.”
The funding marks the first ever UK government PSO, following Dundee City Council’s application for support from the Regional Air Connectivity fund. The fund, announced in the 2013 Spending Round, can be used to maintain important regional air connections, where they are in danger of being lost. The government doubled the size of the fund to £20 million per year in the 2014 Budget.
A Stansted Airport spokesman said: “Stansted has enjoyed good passenger growth over the last 12 months with the launch of lots of new routes and increases in frequencies, so today’s news continues the positive progress.”
Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and councillor for economic development, said: “It’s always good when new routes open up which will allow Essex businesses to penetrate new markets, but I am concerned that public money is being used to prop up Scottish air routes.
“Businesses in Essex should look to take advantage of this new route, but they like me will be wondering when county areas like Essex gets the same sort of support for our transport infrastructure.
“I will be writing to ministers to point out the advantages of investing in Essex and would hope that our outstanding international airports get similar support.”