A NEW airline which wants to start flights between Southend and Manchester, France and Germany claims it is only a few months away from getting airborne.

Netherlands-based JOIN Airlines, has revealed it hopes to welcome its first passengers in February. The company has named Southend as one of the airports at which it would like to base some of its aircraft, enabling it to launch flights to the continent, as well as the town’s first domestic route to Manchester.

In an email to interested parties, Bernard Jacobs, JOIN’s chief commercial officer, said: “We are heading for a start up in later February 2013.

“We will take in aircraft two by two every three months, as from January.”

In a separate email to the Echo, he added that more would be revealed at the end of November.

He said: “There is still an interest in operating Southend Airport, but there is more to tell.”

JOIN, which acts as a umbrella organisation for a number of regional airlines, first revealed it was interested in flying to Southend last June, just days after easyJet announced it had a signed a ten-year deal with the airport.

The departures board now features eleven destinations serviced by easyJet and flights to Dublin operated by Air Lingus Regional.

Two more routes, to Berlin and Krakow, are due to be added by easyJet next year.

JOIN initially envisages flying from Southend to Manchester, Caen in France, Cologne-Bonn in Germany and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, using a mix of turboprop and jet aircraft.

Aircraft based in Groningen, in the Netherlands, may also fly to the town.

However, it is not yet clear whether the Southend routes are among those scheduled to start in February.

Jonathan Rayner, the airport’s business development manager, said: “We are talking to a number of airlines.

“As soon as anything is confirmed, we will announce it.”