SAS Brings New Scheduled Link to Humberside

SAS Scandinavian Airlines is to launch a new scheduled link to Humberside Airport in the UK, a massive a boost for the small regional airport which has struggled previously to secure new air services.  The carrier will launch a five times weekly link to the Lincolnshire airport from its Copenhagen base from October 28, 2013 using a Bombardier CRJ200 flown on its behalf by Cimber Air.  At the same time SAS will also introduce a six times weekly link between Copenhagen and Bremen, also operated by Cimber Air using a 50-seat regional jet.

The small Humberside Airport facility is situated at Kirmington in the Borough of North Lincolnshire, around 20km from Grimsby and approximately 25km from both Kingston upon Hull and Scunthorpe.  Formerly part of the Manchester Airport Group, it is now owned by the Eastern Group, parent of regional carrier Eastern Airways, which has its headquarters on the airport site.  The former Royal Air Force (RAF) base has struggled from strong airport competition with East Midlands, Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield and Leeds Bradford all located within a 120km radius of the facility.

“The announcement of a new high profile route to Copenhagen is great news for Humberside International Airport as we will be providing the only non-stop, direct service to Scandinavia from the Humber, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire region.  SAS’s commitment underlines their view that the Humber, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire region is a place to do business and this service will provide superb connectivity to Scandinavia and beyond.”

Paul Litten
Commercial Director, Humberside Airport

After exceeding the 500,000 passenger milestone for the first time in 2003 and then again in 2004 and 2006, the airport has subsequently been in decline, with just 235,000 passenger being recorded last year, down 17.2 per cent on the previous year.  Although there are a number of seasonal charter services from Humberside, there are currently just two scheduled air routes – a hub link to Amsterdam by KLM and a domestic service to Aberdeen by Eastern Airways.

These two existing routes both support the oil and gas business, an industry that has helped to keep the airport open in recent years.  Alongside the scheduled fixed-wing operations, the airport is the fourth busiest facility in the UK for helicopter movements with over 8,000 annual flights being recorded in the past couple of years.  This, according to SAS’s Regional General Manager Western Europe, Hans Dyhrfort, played an important role in the airline’s decision making process.

“With more than five million people living within reach of the airport, the Humber region is an important northern hub and area of development for SAS.  And with the area on its way to becoming the renewable energy capital of the UK, now is the perfect time to strengthen ties with Denmark and the Nordic region,” he said.

The arrival of SAS is a massive boost for the network development efforts of the airport’s new owner and will certainly help it to attract additional operations in the future.  Following its takeover of the airport, Eastern Group said it would study how it could expand its own presence at Humberside and bring new links to North Lincolnshire.  In the past Eastern offered links from Humberside to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Norwich, while the airport has had non-stop links to Brussels, Dusseldorf, Esbjerg, Paris CDG and many UK points, among others.

“The announcement of a new high profile route to Copenhagen is great news for Humberside International Airport as we will be providing the only non-stop, direct service to Scandinavia from the Humber, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire region,” said Paul Litten, Commercial Director, Humberside Airport.  “SAS’s commitment underlines their view that the Humber, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire region is a place to do business and this service will provide superb connectivity to Scandinavia and beyond.”

“The new service will not only benefit business travellers heading to the city of Copenhagen and those connecting onwards to a comprehensive network of Scandinavian cities, but also leisure travellers taking short breaks in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Baltic countries,” he added.  These connection opportunities to the evening flight include Turku and Helsinki, Finland; Gothenburg and Stockholm, Sweden; Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger, Norway; Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan and Wroclaw, Poland; Palanga, Lithuania; and Aarhus, Billund, and Aalborg in Denmark.