A council chief has admitted he is worried about the loss of a long-running flight route at Dundee Airport — but said the hub still has a big part to play in the city’s future.
As the Tele revealed, services between Dundee and Jersey have been scrapped after operating each summer for more than 20 years.
The firm behind the service, Airways Holidays, said it could no longer run the route due to availability and cost issues.
It was the second blow for the airport in less than a week after it emerged that passengers using the city’s Amsterdam flights were being bussed to Edinburgh Airport for the foreseeable future by operator Flybe.
The reasons for that move remained unclear — but it has emerged that bookings are again being taken for Dundee to Amsterdam from next month.
Councillor Will Dawson, Dundee’s convener of city development — whose remit includes the Waterfront redevelopment — said the loss of the Jersey flight route was a worry.
He said: “It’s definitely concerning to see another issue at the airport in such a short space of time.
“I thought the Jersey route was quite successful, so I’m a little surprised. I will be looking at it and finding out what we can do to help.”
Speaking about the future and role of the airport, he said: “I think it’s still an important link into the city and still has a place. The golf tournaments bring in a lot of tourism and visitors, often through the airport. There’s a lot of private travel but we seem to focus only on the commercial side of the airport.
“I believe Dundee is one of the busiest for private landings, so there’s still a future for the airport.
“Discussions are ongoing to see what we can do with the airport in the future — particularly with the Cities Deal bid — to make it more attractive for investment and use. With the Waterfront project and the boost to Dundee’s economy, the airport could be a great part of that. One thing we’re considering is the widening of the runway, as only little planes can land at the minute.”
Jenny Marra, North East MSP, said: “Dundee City Council has invested in Dundee Airport and to make sure that there is a return on that money they need to ensure that there are viable routes in and out of the city.
“It is a real shame that both the Amsterdam flights and Jersey flights have run into problems in the last week.
“The airport and the flight operators have now got to work hard to see what routes are viable and make sure there good routes in and out of Dundee.”
Alison Henderson, chief executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our understanding is that the suspension of the Jersey flight is not connected to the Amsterdam flight.
“A lot of local people do use it but I can understand that business decision need to be made as an airline operator. It is a shame because the more people that experience the airport the better and we want to see other flights and routes to and from Dundee in the future.”
Flybe said today that the situation involving the Amsterdam route would be resolved “as quickly as possible”.
A spokesman for airport operators HIAL said the removal of the Jersey flights was “disappointing” but added it was working to find a solution “that will hopefully see the route return in 2018”.