WORLD ROUTES: Southend Airport Secures SkyWork Service to Berne

Swiss regional carrier SkyWork Airlines will move its twice weekday link between its Berne base and London from City Airport to Southend Airport from the start of the winter 2014/2015 schedules at the end of October, although it believes the switch will not impact its strategy to provide an efficient offering to the business traveller.

Fresh from the recent new services of flybe, operated by Irish regional carrier Stobart Air, London Southend Airport will this winter welcome the arrival of SkyWork Airlines. The Independent Swiss regional carrier which will switch its Berne – London flights from London City Airport from the start of the northern winter schedules.

According to SkyWork, the move to the "customer friendly” Southend Airport from October 26, 2014 will enable it to modify its schedule and provide better flight times for corporate travellers. Although the morning outbound flight from Berne and return from Southend will operate to a similar schedule as today, the evening flight will be retimed to depart 90 minutes later, allowing more time at the destination for day travellers.

SkyWork launched flights between Berne and London City in March 2011 initially with a daily weekday rotation and increasing demand resulted in the introduction of a second weekday frequency from November 2011. A third lunchtime rotation was added from October 28, 2012 but was suspended at the end of the winter 2012/2013 season.

According to official data from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) the airline carried 16,115 passengers on the route in the 2011 calendar year, growing to 31,990 in 2012 but slipping down to 27,031 last year. Analysis of MIDT data suggests that average air fares on the route have fallen considerably since SkyWork launched flights in 2011, slipping from an average one-way fare of $243 in 2011 to $130 in 2012 and $133 in 2013.

The HUB spoke to London Southend Airport’s chief commercial officer, Roger Clements, to find out what attracted SkyWork to the airport and how it now intends to bridge the gap between its one million annual passenger throughput and the five million passenger annual capacity its recent terminal works now offer.

The HUB speaks to Roger Clements, chief commercial officer, London Southend Airport at World Routes in Chicago.

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