Inaugural flight to Waterford from Birmingham Airport celebrated
Belgian regional carrier VLM Airlines, has celebrated its inaugural flight to Waterford from Birmingham Airport.
The airline took over the route after it was axed by budget airline Flybe.
The first scheduled service to the south east of Ireland, which will operate daily returns four times weekly on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, was greeted into Birmingham with a water-arch salute on arrival.
Arthur White, CEO of VLM Airlines, said: “We are delighted to offer direct services between Birmingham and Waterford four times a week.
“Not only will this route be attractive to Birmingham’s thriving Irish community, but it will help create more tourist traffic for this stunning part of south east Ireland.
“Furthermore, Birmingham Airport’s excellent international network will improve global access for businesses in the Waterford region.”
Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport added: “VLM Airlines’ new service to Waterford is a very welcome addition to our network of flights to Ireland and we’re delighted to see this route launch today.
“Offering same day returns, we expect this service to be popular with business travellers, as well as those visiting friends and relatives, due to the strong links that exist between the two regions.”
Welcoming news of the first flight, Dan Mulhall, Irish Ambassador to the UK, said: “As a Waterfordman and a regular visitor to Ireland’s oldest city, I am delighted to learn of the continuation of flights from Birmingham Airport to Waterford Airport.
“I hope that this new service will encourage more and more people from Britain to sample the attractions of heritage-rich Waterford City and its hinterland – the scenic Copper Coast and Ireland’s Ancient East.”
VLM Airlines will operate the Birmingham – Waterford service, using its fleet of Fokker 50 aircraft.
Waterford was one of two Irish routes discontinued by Flybe, the other being Ireland West (Knock) but uncertainty remains over the future of that service.
As yet no other airline has stepped in to take it over.
A spokesperson for the airport said it has had discussions with other airlines in a bid to continue services to the destinations affected by the Flybe move.
She said: “We are continually discussing routes with partner airlines and hope to be able to fill Flybe’s cancelled routes.”
Bosses at Ireland West Airport will be keen to see the route to Birmingham continue.
It has been a staple on the airport’s timetable since it opened and is popular with the many people with West of Ireland connections in the Midlands.
The route is also promoted to Irish leisure travellers.
Midlanders wishing to travel to Ireland West can still avail of a four times a week Ryanair Service from East Midlands Airport.