Dude, where's my flight? Where airlines won't go this Summer

30 April 2009

Last week, Easyjet announced it was cancelling flights from Newcastle to Prague, a route it has successfully operated for six years. While it greatly diminishes the risk of encountering a pissed-up hen night in one of the finest capitals of Europe, it also means there are no longer direct flights from the North East of England to the Czech Republic.

In isolation that might appear to be great no great loss, but airlines have been quietly shedding flights for the past several months, and unsurprisingly it's been the regional airports that have lost out. Plenty of new routes have been introduced in the meantime, but many of these are to destinations already served by other airlines.

Dozens of routes disappeared shortly before the end of 2008. How does 2009 look so far?

January

BMI withdrew its flights from Manchester to Chicago and Las Vegas, following BA's lead in November to end its Manchester to New York service.

In London village, Delta announced the end of its service from Gatwick to Seattle, while Northwest quit its London to Detroit service. Jet Airways bailed out of its Heathrow to Amritsar route, while BA ended flights from London to Kolkata, Dhaka and Zurich. BMI announced all flights between Heathrow and Jersey would end in March.

February

BMI announced that flights from Heathrow to Leeds-Bradford and Durham-Tees Valley would end in March.

Manchester suffered the loss of more international routes when Thomson Airways announced the end of flights to Tel Aviv in April, while Ryanair dropped seven weekly services between Dublin and Manchester. The budget airline also cut ten routes from Liverpool, including Paris, Budapest, Valencia and Faro.

Flyglobespan scrapped all flights out of Durham Tees Valley airport.

March

Ryanair took an axe to routes originating in Dublin, announcing the closure of four routes from Dublin to Basel, Doncaster, Oporto and Teesside in July, and a reduction in services from Dublin to Aberdeen, Biarritz, Billund, Bournemouth, Carcassonne, East Midlands, Malaga and Rome.

April

easyJet has dropped flights between Luton and Warsaw from July in a dispute over costs, and cancelled flights between Newcastle and Prague because of falling passenger numbers.

This month, domestic flights have fallen by 13 per cent while international flights have dropped off by 10 per cent. The problem isn't isolated to the UK, however - according to the Official Airline Guide, airlines around the world are reporting fewer scheduled flights and reduced capacity for the ninth consecutive month.

The only benefit to the situation has been an improvement in punctuality since airport traffic reduced. That'll be little comfort when the sun-drenched apartment you bought three years ago is now at the end of an airline route that doesn't exist anymore.

TOPICS:   Travel   Economy

5 comments

  • ShakesHeadSadly
    "...following BA’s lead in November to end its Manchester to New York service." Beg to differ. Unless they've re-instated them just to spite you! Just checked the BA website and they still fly direct?
  • Paul S.
    Sadly they don't; the direct flights ended in October - all flights from Manchester to JFK now connect at Gatwick.
  • ian
    i dont think they would axe popluar paying routes! do you?
  • Paul S.
    I didn't say they have. The post is about the depth of the cuts to routes in the last four months, not whether they were profitable or not.
  • Emlyn W.
    'BA ended flights from London to ... Zurich'? Still 6 a day through to April 2010 on the BA website.

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