Eastern Airways grows its niche French regional operation

Eastern Airways adds three new routes from Rodez Aveyron Airport, in southwest France. The city is the capital of the Aveyron department, which is believed by many to be one of France’s best kept picturesque secrets, located in the north east of the Midi-Pyrenees region between the foothills of the Massif Central and the plains of the south west.

UK independent regional carrier Eastern Airways is developing its route network in France by introducing new services in 2017 from Rodez to Italy’s fashion capital, the south coast of England/London and east-central France. The new summer services from the small Rodez Aveyron Airport, in southwest France, will launch to Southampton and Milan in June and July, respectively, while a second domestic service to Lyon will start in March and operate on a year-round basis.

Eastern Airways first introduced flights to Rodez in January last year with the introduction of a regular flight into Orly Airport in the French capital after securing a four-year concession to serve the route. It has been operating in France since 2010 when it first launched a base at Dijon Bourgogne Airport, later also providing services from Lorient to Lyon in 2014.

The arrival of a second based aircraft in Rodez will initially permit the introduction of a new three times weekly connection to Lyon Airports from March 13, 2017. The twice weekly (Monday and Friday) connection to Southampton Airport  will commence from June 2, 2017 and offer onward connections to Leeds Bradford® Airport, while the twice weekly (Friday and Sunday) link to Milan Airports, MXP and LIN will start from July 7, 2017. The Southampton and Milan flights will operate through to August 20, 2017 and August 27, 2017, respectively.

“Since establishing ourselves on the Rodez – Paris Orly service last year, expanding our Rodez operation with three new routes and an additional based aircraft demonstrates our strong commitment to the region,” said Mathew Herzberg, head of commercial, Eastern Airways.

The schedules suggest the Milan route is aimed at the summer weekend break market, while the Southampton flight not only links the south of England for summer 2017 for weekend or week long breaks, but will support demand to the many holiday homes in the area as well as becoming an alternative option for inbound arrivals seeking to reach London.

“The more immediate start up is Lyon, which has strong trade links with the Rodez Aveyron region. The convenient Rodez route to Lyon also allows for onward connections to Eastern Europe and the Far East,” added Herzberg.

As our Airlineroute schedule post highlights, these three new routes will be operated by a mix of equipment.  The Lyon route will be flown by Eastern Airways France using a BAe Jetstream 41, while the Milan flight will also be operated by the French division but using a larger 50-seat ERJ-145 regional jet. The UK route will be flown by the mainline Eastern Airways business using a 50-seat Saab 2000 turboprop.

Rodez–Aveyron Airport is the most convenient facility for reaching the French departments of Aveyron, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Lot, Hérault, Gard, Lozère, and Cantal, but has always suffered from limited domestic and international connectivity. 

Brit’Air launched flights to Paris Orly in 2002 for flag carrier Air France, but the airport’s big break came in May 2003 when Ryanair first arrived. The low-cost carrier this summer will provide seasonal services to Brussels Charleroi and Dublin having closed its original London Stansted link in November last year.

Rodez is the capital of the Aveyron department, which is believed by many to be one of France’s best kept picturesque secrets, located in the north east of the Midi-Pyrenees region between the foothills of the Massif Central and the plains of the south west.

Due to the geographical location of Rodez, between the Millau Viaduct and the mediaeval village of Conques, its 2,000 year old history offers a diversity of culture with museums and sites to visit. Its UNESCO World Heritage candidacy as well as the natural beauty of the Aveyron department contributes to a positive and dynamic tourism destination from around France, the UK and Europe.


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