US flight hopes at Stansted

AN AMERICAN budget airline is hoping to bring transatlantic flights back to Stansted Airport.SkyLink Airways is currently trying to get Federal Aviation Authority approval to set up a low-price airline which could use the Essex airport as its European hub.

AN AMERICAN budget airline is hoping to bring transatlantic flights back to Stansted Airport.

SkyLink Airways is currently trying to get Federal Aviation Authority approval to set up a low-price airline which could use the Essex airport as its European hub.

The proposal is to fly from Baltimore-Washington International airport to Stansted, offering prices 15 to 70% lower than other transatlantic fares.

It is hoped ultimately Stansted would be a hub for other European destinations, perhaps by linking up with low-cost airlines already at the airport.


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However, the project is still in early stages as the company has not yet purchased its aircraft or have necessary certification.

Continental Airlines axed its Stansted to New York service in the aftermath of 9/11, three years ago.

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Yesterday the possibility of transatlantic flights returning to Stansted was welcomed as a potential boost to the region's economy.

Essex Chambers of Commerce president Robert Leng said: "I think this is absolutely fantastic news. If it hadn't been for the problems of 2001, I'm sure the old route would have survived and would have prospered. It's sorely needed this side of London."

He added: "It would build up Stansted's position as London's third airport and be very good for the county of Essex because it would attract more jobs, especially in the high-tech business, which Essex really needs.

"We are a very industrious county but poorly paid. What we want are highly paid jobs."

Essex County Council cabinet member for planning, enterprise and regeneration, Peter Martin, said: "We would very much support transatlantic flights from Stansted. We think there's a great need.

"Although we are against too much expansion, it's good we have a range of routes from Stansted to encourage local business and support local business."

He added: "It would encourage companies to move to Essex in the area around Stansted."

Mr Martin said it would lead to high-tech and high value jobs.

Former ITN investigative reporter Adam Holloway, the UK spokesman for SkyLink Airways, said the company had chosen Stansted because it is an "amazing airport".

He said: "We are in an early phase. We haven't yet bought our aircraft. We're trying to get ourselves certified. By March we'll have some aircraft and a clear idea of where we are going to fly to."

The airline is currently recruiting for cabin crew and airport staff to be based at Stansted.

A Stansted Airport spokesman said: "Nothing is definitely concrete at the moment. They're very keen to start services from here this year."

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