Discussions are still continuing over the Isle of Man’s air links to London, Infrastructure Minister David Cretney has told Tynwald,
Responding to a Tynwald question from Douglas North MHK Bill Henderson, he said Easyjet is to operate up to five extra flights per week to Gatwick starting in April once Flybe ceases to fly that route.
The times of the flights has attracted criticism however, as a lack of early morning departures to London from the Isle of Man will make a business trip difficult, without an overnight stop in London.
Mr Cretney told members: ‘We are now waiting to hear from BA CityFlyer who have been working with both departments (Infrastructure and Economic Development) regarding a minimum of two flights a day on weekdays with an early morning flight arrival and an evening rotation.
‘In addition, with the Easyjet news of no Saturday flight during the summer period due, they say, to this year’s Saturday flights not breaking even, we have suggested to BA City Flyer they may wish to consider additional London City services on a Saturday.’
Mr Cretney added an announcement was expected soon from the company on its plans for flights to and from London City Airport.
He said work had also gone in to finding a new operator for a Scottish airline route. He said currently passengers generally travel via Manchester to Scotland but he was optimistic of finding an airline to run a twice daily route to Scotland probably starting at the end of march 2014.
‘Discussions are still ongoing at this time but I hope there will be an announcement on this before Christmas, in two to three weeks,’ he said.
‘We have done much better than some other destinations with a larger population than ours that have Easyjet.’
There are currently six daily flights to London on weekdays. These consist of four Flybe flights to Gatwick, one Easyjet flight to Gatwick and one BA flight to London City. There are also some Flybe flights to Luton.
These continue through the winter to the end of March when the Flybe service ends, after sale of its slots at Gatwick to Easyjet.