LONDON AIR LINK TO TAKE OFF AGAIN

By Suzanne Pert

Thursday, January 11, 2007

 

LONDON AIR LINK TO TAKE OFF AGAIN

Wight Airlines’ Chris Williams is looking to expand services from Sandown to include Bournemouth, Southampton and even Ireland, as well as resuming flights to London.

THE fledgling airline service between the Island and London City Airport could be airborne again this spring and it could be in line for EU cash.

The grass runway at IW Airport, Sandown, has been extended so the Piper Chieftain aircraft can resume its twice-daily flights to London and Wight Airlines now has a second aircraft, a Britten-Norman Islander, as a back-up.

Difficulties were caused in the past because the airline did not have its own air operator’s certificate but it is hoped this will be in place before the regular flights resume in April or May.

Additional routes are also being added, a 13-minute hop to Bournemouth and a nine-minute flip to Southampton with the promise it will cost little more than a ferry and taxi.

The man behind the airline, Chris Williams, is also hoping for some EU funding through a tie-up with an Irish company, which specialises in obtaining EU investment.

“We have been asked to put a service on to one of the outlying islands from Galway and we have a new aircraft on order to do that. The Irish company will provide the funding for the service,” he said, adding it would also help with an application for EU cash.

Mr Williams already does a lot of cargo work out of Ireland and said the management of Knock Airport is keen to start a service between Knock and the IW.

“They feel there are a lot of people living over there who would love to go to the IW on holiday. They have said there is a market for it and they want to prove it to us. We would do it as a joint venture,” said Mr Williams.

The flights to London are expected to cost £75 for standby and £94.36 for a booked single flight.

The service will run until October 31, when the IW Airport will close for four months for a hard surface runway to be built.

“As soon as that is ready, we will resume service 52 weeks a year,” said Mr Williams.

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