3 Mar 2014

bmi regional launches Newcastle to Brussels service

DATE: 03-03-14

bmi regional, the UK’s most punctual scheduled airline, launched its new service from Newcastle International to Brussels on Monday 3 March, the only direct flight to link the two cities. The route is operated by a 49-seater Embraer jet aircraft twice daily Monday to Friday and on Sunday afternoons. The flights will offer business and leisure travellers the opportunity to reach the Belgian capital in just 75 minutes from £80 per person including taxes one way.

As the aircraft touched down at Newcastle International Airport, it was welcomed to the North East by a guard of honour water salute from the Airport Fire Service. bmi regional CEO Cathal O’Connell arrived on the first flight and was greeted by guests including MEP Martin Callanan and Professor Chris Day from Newcastle University.

bmi regional offers a full in-flight service including at-seat meals and full bar selection, in addition to 20kg of checked baggage per person and thirty minute check-in at both airports. The carrier was named Silver Airline of the Year at the annual European Regions Airline Association (ERA) awards in Austria last October.

“This is our first route from Newcastle International and we’re delighted to provide the only direct flight for travellers from the North East of England to the Belgian capital,” said Cathal O’Connell, CEO at bmi regional. “Last year we launched over a dozen new routes from British airports and our new Newcastle to Brussels service opens up opportunities for those travelling for business and for pleasure.”

Dave Laws, Chief Executive of Newcastle International Airport, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the launch of this new service and our partnership with bmi regional. Since it was first announced last year, the service has been welcomed by both leisure and business travellers in the North East.

“This is a vital European connection and will help regional businesses to prosper. It will also give leisure travellers the opportunity to sample Belgium and what it has to offer.”

Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and Leader of the LA7 Shareholders, said: “The inaugural flight of bmi regional’s service to Brussels from Newcastle Airport is great news for the region.

“The connectivity provided by this route will help many regional businesses expand their reach to Belgium and beyond. Brussels is a popular hub with a variety of connections, which I’m sure will be welcomed by North East passengers.”

Martin Callanan, MEP, said: “I am delighted that bmi regional are starting their Newcastle to Brussels route as good air links in the region are vital for the business community here. I wish this additional service every success and look forward to using it myself regularly!"

Professor Chris Day, Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University, said: “The new direct route is a great opportunity, not just for ourselves but for businesses and policy makers across the region. Here at Newcastle University, it will make it easier for us to collaborate with our colleagues in Europe, particularly as we approach new opportunities through the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation fund. Newcastle University is committed to tackling some of the greatest challenges facing society today particularity in the areas of aging, sustainability and social renewal and it will help us as we look to establish new research links with leading academics in these fields.”

Brussels is renowned for its Grand Place - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and other architectural sights including the futuristic Atomium and traditional Flemish houses, in addition to its vibrant arts and food districts. Home to the Brussels Stock Exchange, the city serves as a centre of administration for the European Union and a gateway to other cities including Antwerp, Ghent and Maastricht.

The airline carried almost 500,000 customers in 2013, having become independent from BMI in June 2012, and has pursued a sustainable expansion strategy whilst retaining full in-flight service and the highest customer service standards.