Loganair has been appointed to operate flights between Stansted and City of Derry airports after the collapse of Flybmi.
The route had been operated by Flybmi since 2017 under a Public Service Obligation (PSO) and received funding from the Department for Transport and the Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Flybmi announced just days after the government subsidy was renewed that it was ceasing operations and filing for administration, leaving the Derry City and Strabane District Council searching for a new airline to operate the route, which is popular with business travellers.
The council has chosen Loganair, which already operates a popular Derry-Glasgow service, to continue the economically important route.
The twice-daily service will begin on 27 February, with Loganair using a 49-seat Embraer 145 aircraft. The agreed schedule is similar to the one offered by Flybmi, operating twice every weekday and Sunday, with one on Saturday.
Albert Harrison, chairman of City of Derry airport operations, said: “We are absolutely delighted with today’s announcement. The appointment of Loganair to resume the twice daily service from City of Derry airport to London Stansted is very good news for the airport and the wider North West region. A direct air link with London is imperative for this region and for our business, leisure and tourism communities.”
Transport secretary Chris Grayling commented: “It is a testament to the hard work of Derry and Strabane Council, the City of Derry airport and my department that we have been able to secure a replacement airline so quickly. This route is vital because it strengthens the union, protects choice and boosts trade and travel opportunities – enabling business trips to and from Derry-Londonderry within a day.”
Jonathan Hinkles, MD of Loganair, added: “We’re extremely pleased to be selected to operate the essential Derry to Stansted air service following completion of a competitive tender process. I know the news about Flybmi created great uncertainty, so we’re focused on recommencing operations as quickly as possible.
“The route is an important link to London with a schedule which has been tailored to the needs of the business community – enabling a full day of work in the capital before an evening flight home. The weekend services will also be attractive to leisure passengers who can choose the length of a short break.”
Loganair has also picked up five other former Flybmi routes from Aberdeen and Newcastle.