Direct flights between London and Exeter are set to begin this October as part of a major expansion deal by locally-based airline Flybe.
Three city-to-city flights will run from Exeter to London City Airport as part of a five year agreement with the capital airport.
The expansion to the airlines’ Exeter flights will also see daily flights service Edinburgh and Dublin, two services to and from Inverness and three daily flights to and from Belfast.
Saad Hammad, Flybe’s chief executive officer, said: “Today’s announcement is a significant landmark in the re-birth of Flybe.
“We are delighted to re-enter the London market at London’s most convenient airport following a rigorous profitability analysis utilising our strict route assessment model.
“Dedicating five growth aircraft initially to these new routes is a major statement of intent and we look forward to building a successful and growing presence there over the coming years.
“Flybe is today already connecting over seven million passengers a year across the UK and Europe. With a major London connection, we reaffirm our place as the UK’s largest regional airline.”
In total five aircraft will cover the new routes from three centres.
Flybe has said they expect that the expansion will provide a major economic boost to Exeter businesses by improving transport link between Exeter and the capital.
The Exeter-based airline also expect the flights to appeal to a significant number of passengers who need to access the UK regions and neighbouring European destinations quickly and efficiently as the new services will prove be significantly faster overall than travelling by road or rail or via Heathrow or Gatwick.
Routes to Edinburgh and Dublin are expected to be in particular demand.
Declan Collier, Chief Executive Officer, London City Airport, confirmed the importance of the arrival of Flybe at the airport.
He said: “Flybe will bring an immediate uplift of up to half a million new passengers to the airport. In addition, Flybe’s selection of routes serves to cement further LCY’s status as the business traveller’s airport of choice, underpinned by our ‘location, convenience and speed’ customer propositions.
“We look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
Regional core services within the UK and from/to Ireland will be supplemented with off-peak leisure flights to selected Ski, Regional French and Northern Spanish destinations.
More information about these routes will be announced in the coming weeks. Flights between LCY and Edinburgh, Belfast City, Dublin, Inverness and Exeter are now on sale at www.flybe.com
The agreement is a major step forward in meeting the Group’s stated strategic objective to expand its branded scheduled commercial operation by developing new routes and bases within the UK following its successful fund raise of £150 million last month.