Luton link: 'Devil is in the detail'

By by Jackie Turley jackie.turley@iomtoday.co.im Twitter: @iomJackie in Transport

TravelWatch has welcomed the introduction by Easyjet of a service from Ronaldsway to Luton.

But passenger watchdog spokesman Terry Liddiard has said that ’the devil is in the detail’.

The airline announced last week that it would operate three flights a week on the route from Monday, March 27.

In fact, while flights are scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on their launch, from the start of July, the Wednesday flights are dropped, leaving a reduced frequency of two flights a week.

There’s a mixed schedule in September, with two weeks only showing Wednesday flights.

From September 25 and throughout October, the frequency returns to three-weekly flights.

And there’s also extra flights to coincide with the TT festival, with flights being added on two Sundays, May 28 and June 4.

Mr Liddiard welcomed the introduction of the service, saying that it would replace the seats lost by the reduction in Easyjet’s Gatwick service in the summer schedule.

He said it would also compensate a bit for the loss of Flybe’s Stansted route.

’We are obviously very delighted,’ he said.

’Luton has always been a very popular route. It’s seen as a low-cost alternative to Heathrow.

’It’s got jolly good links to north London and is well placed for the Cotswolds.’

But he said the announcement did come with a ’bit of a caveat’, explaining: ’It’s operating three days a week April, May and June.

’But then comes the dreaded less frequent later in the year. And just at the time that the island approaches the peak of the holiday season the capacity is cut back. It drops to two flights only a week when we really need the seats.

’That’s a bit disappointing.’

He urged people to make use of the route saying there were some ’very good fares’ in the introductory period.

Easyjet expects to fly 19,000 passengers between the destinations each year.

Announcing the route, easyJet commercial manager Ali Gayward said it ’highlights our commitment to providing affordable routes for both leisure and business passengers and we’re sure that it will prove extremely popular’.

Director of ports Ann Reynolds has also welcomed the introduction of the air link, describing it as a ’very exciting opportunity for island residents, in making travel to Luton, Oxfordshire and north London so affordable and for bringing in potential new tourism to the Isle of Man’.

Flybe previously operated the route between the island and Luton. After reducing the service to summer-only, the airline cut the route in March 2014.

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RichEader · 182 days ago · Report

Good links to North London? You should know better than that Mr Liddiard. After walking quite a way through the current construction to take a bus from the terminal to the rail station, at additional cost unless the bus is included in your rail fare, you can wait for a train to London. It's a joy in the rain. And if you have plenty of time on your hands, I guess it's all right. To describe it as a good link, however, is a bit of a stretch.

Geoff Wilson · 182 days ago · Report

Excellent. Now how about a service to Leeds/Bradford?

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