Source: The Scotsman
Airline announces new flights from Scotland
New direct flights to France and Ireland will be unveiled today as Scotland’s air route network soars further.
Fast-growing airline Duo is launching new links between Edinburgh and Bordeaux and Shannon from 1 June.
The services will see the Birmingham-based carrier’s routes double to eight since its first flights took off last November.
The Shannon service will operate daily, while Bordeaux will start with weekly flights, which are expected to be increased as demand grows. The news comes a week after Duo launched its latest new route, between Edinburgh and Munich. It also flies to Geneva, Milan, Nice, Oslo and Zurich.
Duo, which was formed from a management buy-out of the Danish carrier Maersk, will also launch three new routes from its Birmingham base.
Other new routes about to start operating from Scotland include Emirates’ Glasgow-Dubai service on Saturday and Ryanair’s Prestwick-Rome service on 29 April.
They will be followed by Glasgow-Philadelphia flights being launched by US Airways next month, along with BMI’S new service between Aberdeen and Groningen in the Netherlands.
Continental Airlines’ Edinburgh-New York flights follow in June.
A spokesman for Duo said Shannon was expected to be popular with golfers, with the airport also close to technology firms.
The route follows Ryanair’s launch of a daily Shannon service from Prestwick in December, which it said had been popular with both holidaymakers and business travellers.
Duo expects its Bordeaux service to attract Scots holidaying in the nearby Dordogne, along with second-home owners. A spokesman for the airline said a new injection of funding had enabled the airline to announce its second route expansion since being launched. A crew base has also been established at Edinburgh.
The spokesman stressed the historic links between Bordeaux and Edinburgh, forged by claret which was imported to Leith. He said the wine was the preferred drink of the 18th- century Edinburgh Enlightenment before whisky increased in popularity.
Shannon is Duo’s first Irish destination, while it already flies to Bordeaux from Birmingham.
Duncan Osborne, Duo’s head of UK and European marketing, said: "As part of our rapid expansion, we are delighted to be able to announce our new routes to France and Ireland to build on the Celtic connections.
"There are plenty of good reasons for flying to these new destinations - not just claret and Guinness - and we also expect that they will help bring more business people and tourists into Scotland as well."
Unlike no-frills airlines, Duo says it offers "business class service at economy prices". It uses 48- and 68-seat aircraft compared to the 130-189 seat jets used by Ryanair. However, it has cut its fares in a drive to increase passengers, with the original inclusive £70 one-way fares on some of its routes comparing with £39 to Shannon.
Hugh Aitken, the head of strategy at BAA Edinburgh, the airport’s owners, said: "We’re delighted that Duo are adding more new routes from Edinburgh, in addition to the six European destinations already on offer.
"This is great news for the capital’s business and tourism potential and a real vote of confidence in Edinburgh airport."
The news came as Ryanair claimed it had overtaken British Airways in Europe following a 51 per cent increase in passengers last month.
The Irish airline said it carried 2.14 million passengers in March compared to BA’s 1.93 million, which increased by just 1.8 per cent on last year.
Ryanair flights were 78 per cent full compared to BA’s 65 per cent. Worldwide, BA’s aircraft were 74 per cent full.
Ryanair also recorded one of its highest proportions of passengers booking their seats online - 97 per cent.
The airline said it had carried more than 150,000 Norwegians and Swedes to Scotland since its Prestwick-Oslo service was launched two years ago and flights to Stockholm a year later.
The Oslo route has carried more than 140,000 passengers, with 95,000 on the Stockholm service, which operated with larger aircraft from the start.
Cathy Timlin, Ryanair’s UK sales manager, said: "These routes have been hugely successful in bringing large numbers of Scandinavians to Scotland.
"Figures show on average 65 per cent inbound traffic - that’s some 153,000 Scandinavians touching down at Prestwick. This is giving a huge boost to Scottish tourism."
It's excellent news! Hopefully they are finally finding the passengers now that they are better established. Good luck to them.