Dutch charter broker Aviation Partners is to start a new regional airline, as airport management company Schiphol Group receives approval to develop a regional airport outside Amsterdam.

The airline, CityWings, will start services from Lelystad Airport, 50km (30 miles) from the Netherlands' commercial capital, in September using an ATR 42, once the airport's air traffic control (ATC) is approved by the Dutch civil aviation authority, the LVNL. The airport is owned by Schiphol Group.

CityWings is to operate services three-times daily to London Stansted from 3 September and hopes to add other major European business city destinations and further ATRs "in the short term". The airline, which is talking to various sources for the ATRs, says that it expects most passengers to come from businesses in the eastern side of Amsterdam wishing to avoid the congestion near Schiphol. Aviation Partners chairman Leo Klomp‚ says "with the realisation of ATC at Lelystad, a major obstacle has been removed; we now can concentrate on the necessary preparations".

Schiphol Group has LVNL approval for the airport's new approach routes and meteorological station, and expects final approval of its ATC by the end of the year, says Lelystad Airport's commercial director Pieter van der Ham. Schiphol's plans for Lelystad as a business airport have been delayed by four years because of LVNL concerns.

Under original proposals, KLM was due to transfer some Cityhopper and KLM Exel turboprop flights from Schiphol to Lelystad, but the Dutch flag carrier says that this is no longer planned. ATC should be in place by the second quarter of next year and the runway extension from 1,300m (4,300ft) to 2,100m to accommodate larger jets will start once final approval is granted.

Source: Flight International