The personal touch is often a feature of flying with regional airlines. So being asked by the Air Southwest flight attendant if I wanted a taxi booked on arrival in Plymouth was a practical and much appreciated gesture.
I didn’t in fact because I was visiting Air Southwest chief executive Peter Davies, whose office overlooks the tiny apron at Plymouth City Airport, but for several of the other 27 passengers on the Bombardier Dash 8-300 this was an essential service, especially as the airport doesn’t have a permanent taxi rank.
The mission of Air Southwest, which is only six years old, is described by Peter on this video.
It operates on routes linking travellers from Cornwall and Devon to London, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Newcastle with a fleet of five Dash 8-300s. Air Southwest carried around 300,000 passengers in 2008.
The carrier is owned by the Sutton Harbour Group, which also owns marinas and fisheries and develops property.
One of the first things Peter has done is launch a new route between the southwest and London City Airport. This is taking on the train and offers a faster service at competitive prices.
Peter has only been at Air Southwest for a couple of months. His career has taken in leadership roles at Caribbean Airlines, SN Brussels Airlines and DHL.
The apron at Plymouth City Airport (seen below) – which is also owned by Sutton Harbour Group – has room for three Dash 8s. The airport has a short runway – the largest aircraft it can handle is a Dash 8 or an ATR-42.
Below: Leaving on Air Southwest flight number WOW 103 from London Gatwick to Plymouth. Note the huge walkway that connects a remote pier with the terminal.