Deauville anticipates growth in visiting tourists flying in with CityJet’s new service from London City Airport

Johan Vanneste, CEO of VLM (whose Fokker 50s will operate the new route between London City Airport and Deauville), gives a big thumbs up to the new four-times weekly service. On arrival in France, there was a champagne-fuelled naming ceremony for the aircraft as the local media turned out to witness the event.

The cultured Normandy town of Deauville celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, having been created as a sea-side getaway for Parisiens long before high-speed rail and air travel made more exotic destinations desirable. With its famous equine heritage and American movie star labelled beach huts, the town attracts visitors throughout the summer season, especially those who have invested in second homes facing the sea.

The airport of Deauville Saint-Gatien, which serves the area, handled almost 87,000 commercial passengers last year (down 4.9% on 2008), nearly all of whom were on international charter flights. However, last week, was among a select group who were welcomed on board a CityJet Fokker 50 operating a familiarisation flight from London City Airport. The route will not officially start carrying fare paying passengers until 24 June when CityJet will operate the route during the middle of the day, four times per week on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The last scheduled service to the airport was operated by SkySouth, a small UK airline which flew eight-seat Piper PA31s twice-weekly from Shoreham airport (Brighton) on the UK south coast.

Healthy charter market to Mediterranean and beyond

Outbound charter traffic currently accounts for nearly all of Deauville’s annual traffic of almost 100,000 passengers. Flights to Antalya, Funchal and Marrakech are operated by Onur Air, SATA and Royal Air Maroc respectively.

Apart from the new CityJet scheduled service to London (something that Ryanair tried back in 2007 to London Stansted but axed a month before services were due to start), there is a healthy charter market with some 25 destinations being served this summer from the airport. Last Thursday alone, there were charter flights to Antalya (operated by Onur Air using an A321), Funchal (operated by SATA) and Marrakech (operated by Royal Air Maroc). The recently re-paved 2,550 metre runway enables most destinations in Europe and North Africa to be reached comfortably.


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