Our good friend, occasional Airline Business video interviewer and generally high-class airline exec Peter Davies is already stirring things up down in the south-west of England.
Five weeks ago the former DHL, Brussels Airlines and Caribbean Airlines boss took on the job of running little known UK regional airline Air Southwest. It operates a fleet of five Bombardier Dash 8 Q300s on routes mainly within the UK from Newquay and Plymouth.
After five weeks and what Peter describes as “my usual airline diagnostic”, which resulted in a seven-page report for the private owners of the airline on the best business and strategic options for the carrier, today saw the first fruits of his labours: the announcement of a new route between Plymouth (with an extra hop to Newquay) to London City Airport. It opens on 20 April.
This route is the first to London City for Air Southwest. It will fly the route twice daily allowing virtually a full business day in London giving the train a run for its money.
Now I can remember reporting on the opening of London City back in the late 1980s and this route was one of those started by Brymon Airways, but perhaps stopped later when BA bought the carrier.
Can anyone dredge back in their memories and illuminate us? Or share any photos?
Well, judging by the 50+ comments on the route announcement story in the local Plymouth paper, this is a big deal for the region. Most comments are favourable, although some wonder if the cheap lead-in fares will be easy to get.
Peter says the Plymouth route is aimed at business passengers while the Newquay “tag” brings in the leisure market.
Air Southwest will continue operating its four times daily service to London Gatwick, says Peter. This route has new competition in the face of large UK regional Flybe, which began service between Plymouth and Gatwick in February.
Peter also has his eyes on other routes but is keeping these ideas to himself for the moment.