VLM Airlines is to end its Waterford-London Luton service after a shock announcement this week.
The airline has been well-utilised by passengers travelling to the UK from the southeast of Ireland, with more than 45,000 people flying the London Luton and Birmingham routes.
But it is set to cease flights to the former from June 16 and, due to a previously-arranged break in service from June 8-15, June 7 is the last effective day.
Representatives from Waterford Airport expressed their disappointment at the decision and are already searching for an alternative carrier to maintain the route.
The airport’s CEO, Desmond O’Flynn, said: “We are obviously very disappointed at this decision and appreciate that it will have an impact on the travel plans of people who had intended flying on the route during the busy summer period.
“Air access to Britain and, especially, the greater London area remains the number one priority for Waterford Airport given the importance of this connectivity to the southeast region’s economy.
“Given this, we are sparing no effort to attract an alternative carrier to service the Waterford- London route which has a track record spanning more than 30 years.
“There is an added challenge in doing this midyear but we will continue to work hard and recognise the loyal support we have had from business and leisure passengers as well as other stakeholders for many years now.”
The announcement is likely to disrupt the plans of those who intended to use the service in the coming months. Those with existing bookings with VLM on flights after June 7 will be contacted directly by the airline.
It can also be reached on 076 680 5592 or email@example.com The news of the cessation came just days after CityJet announced that it will be discontinuing its Cork-London City route on June 26, just eight months after it opened.
The demand for the route has not been as was expected and CityJet chairman Pat Byrne was forced to concede that it is no longer commercially viable. He explained that the company had been unable to achieve its passenger load factor and average fare targets.
“Our 18 weekly flights failed to gain a market foothold sufficiently to ensure and continuation of this service,” he said.
“This is despite strong and appreciated support from Cork Airport and business organisations in the region, in addition to a significant investment in marketing of the route.”
The airline said it is firmly committed to operating its new summer routes from Cork to La Rochelle and Nantes and its charter series to Menorca. It added that it will be in touch with any affected passengers, who can avail a full refund.
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It’s bad news for Cork as CityJet is set to cancel its Cork to London route on June 26, just eight months after it was opened.