FLYBE, Europe’s largest regional airline, has started three of its six new European routes from Southend Airport.

Passengers departed on flights to Rennes in France, Münster Osnabrück in Germany and Groningen in the Netherlands over the course of the day yesterday, whilst inbound passengers from these destinations arrived to London Southend Airport for the first time.

Flybe’s services to Antwerp, Caen Normandy and Maastricht come into operation next month.

The Flybe branded routes are operated by Stobart Air as part of a franchise agreement between the two airlines. Stobart Air has targeted 200,000 passengers on its six new London Southend services in the first full year of operations, rising to 700,000 passengers within three years.

Julian Carr, Managing Director, Stobart Air, said “Today marks a significant step for Stobart Air, with the start of our new services here at London Southend Airport. We are delighted to be up and running and look forward to today’s passengers being the first of thousands who will experience our services in the years ahead. Bookings for these new routes have been strong since they were first announced in April. We are seeing a growing response from both leisure and business passengers who are attracted by competitive prices, convenient schedules and the efficiency of London Southend Airport.

“For the 20 million people living within two hours of London Southend Airport, the six new routes offer people direct access to some of Europe’s most charming cultural hubs and important trading markets.

"The availability of daily return services on some of the routes means people can do a day’s business and be back home that evening.”

Roger Clements, Managing Director, Southend Airport said “This is a special day for London Southend Airport. Launching three new routes in a single day signifies the development that this airport is undergoing, and how far we have advanced. We are delighted to welcome our newest passengers, and look forward to showing them the benefits London Southend Airport has to offer, like up to eight trains per hour into the heart of London in just 53-minutes.

"For many on these new routes, this is the first direct connection to London. It links a whole new audience to one of the world’s most important cities, and this is very significant. We have seen that the more people experience London Southend’s comfort, convenience and efficiency, the more popular it becomes. We look forward to Flybe’s newest passengers enjoying a similar experience.”