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The sky’s no limit as Oxford Airport gets set to start new flights
OXFORD Airport is returning to the skies with the first of what it hopes is a number of new commerical flights.
The Kidlington airport has announced plans to fly to Jersey from May and says talks are on-going about flights to other domestic and European destinations.
The announcement comes around four months after Minoan Air pulled its flights between Oxford, Edinburgh and Dublin after a dispute with the airport’s management.
Now those who run the airport say they want to attract some of the more than two million plane passengers who either begin or finish their journeys in the county.
Tony Farmer, head of sales and route development at Oxford Airport, said: “Jersey is one of the more popularly requested destinations and it has been a popular flight in the past.
“The airport has identified over 15 possible destinations but we are focusing on niche destinations within 90 minutes travel time. “Hopefully, there will be a range of domestic and European destinations we will be able to tell you about soon.
“Something like 2.1 million sector journeys are originating in Oxfordshire or have Oxfordshire as their destination and all those people have to travel from or to other airports.
“There is no reason why we shouldn’t encourage them to travel from this airport rather than one 50 or 60 miles away.”
It is understood flights to Edinburgh are in the pipeline, but Mr Farmer declined to comment on this.
Flights will be operated by a 46-seat ATR 42 aircraft which will leave Oxford on Saturdays – starting from May 10 – at 9.40am, with return flights from Jersey at 9.10am.
Robert Mackenzie, managing director of Jersey-based CI Travel Group, said: “We are delighted to be able to re-introduce our popular summer air route from Oxford to Jersey.
“Many of our clients missed the stress-free travel opportunity that the route provides, with just a 100-metre walk from the terminal entrance to the aircraft steps.”
London Oxford Airport – as it was renamed in 2009 – started life as an airfield during the Second World War but has since become an established centre for pilot training.
It is currently owned by property entrepreneurs David and Simon Reuben.
In 2010, daily flights to Edinburgh were launched by start-up airline Varsity Express but ended after a week, and in December 2011 a one-off flight to New York’s John F Kennedy Airport took off.
Mr Farmer said the airline that would be flying to Jersey was a “long-standing operator” which has “many years” of experience.
Ian Hudspeth, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “I have flown to Jersey from Oxford and I found it fantastic because, 15 minutes after leaving my front door, I was sitting in the departure lounge.
“We have got to realise that in Oxfordshire we are developing a world-class economy and it is inevitable that people want to come into an airport which is close to the area.”
But he said people had to be realistic about what would eventually become of the site.
“There is potential for growth at Oxford Airport, but perhaps not to become a major regional hub,” he said.
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