London City Airport has launched an ambitious bid to secure direct flights from Dundee – and has promised to offer up to three return journeys a day.
The Tele exclusively revealed that airport bosses began talks on Thursday in a bid to secure the route.
Plans have been welcomed by political and business leaders as well as cultural representatives throughout the City of Discovery.
Dundee Council, the Scottish Government and the Department for Transport are overseeing a two-month competitive tender process that closes on July 17th.
It invites interested parties to make their case to replace the current twice daily London Stansted service – now London City has made the move to stake its claim for the route.
A spokesman for the airport said: “Five years on from the take-off of its last Dundee flight, London City Airport has set out its case for why Government decision makers should award the Public Service Obligation (PSO) route to a bidder that will operate up to three daily return flights between the City of Discovery and the capital’s most central airport.
“The proposed triple daily service could be operated by Loganair on an aircraft that accommodates 48 passengers.
“From this autumn, it could be possible to get from Canary Wharf to the V&A in Dundee in as little as two hours 30 minutes.”
“The ongoing transformation of Dundee has sown the seeds to return the route to commercial viability, and bringing it back to its natural home in central London is key to delivering on that ambition.”
Chris Law, MP for Dundee West, has described the potential link to London City Airport as the “missing piece of the jigsaw” for the city’s tourism industry.
He said: “This is a highly exciting time for Dundee, with hundreds of millions of pounds in new investment and thousands of new visitors coming to our city.
“If selected by the tender panel, it will offer a faster and more direct route right to the heart of London. This would be great news not only for business and tourists, but for the people of Dundee looking to travel to London and beyond.
“The loss of the link to London City was a huge blow for the city at the time, and I hope, if reinstated, that with this new support it can go from strength-to-strength and properly deliver the route that our city needs and deserves.”
Mr Law has since launched a petition calling for people to back the plans.
The plans have also been backed by leader of Dundee City Council John Alexander, who believes the city deserves a reasonable means of travel to London.
The current route from Dundee takes commuters into Stansted airport, with funding due to run out for that particular service later this year.
Mr Alexander said: “The bottom line is Dundee Airport needs decent routes, with a deliberate emphasis on routes being a plural.
“We need good and regular flights to London in the first instance. We’ve been working hard to achieve that and it’s no secret that Dundee has been actively lobbying to push the airport.
“We’ve seen how successful and popular routes such as Amsterdam can be too. With over £9million of funding through the Tay Cities Deal, including funds for route development, the time is right to redouble our efforts and to push HIAL and others to make the airport a success story for our growing and popular city.
“There’s no good reason that it shouldn’t happen.”
Numbers have declined on current flights to Dundee, with Edinburgh Airport seeing a boost to its offering to London in the past year.
The tender currently specifies a minimum of two daily weekday services, while London City has the ability to offer three daily flights.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with the Evening Telegraph newsletter
Pete Downes, Aviation Director for London City Airport, said: “The time is right for the route to return to London City.
“After spending time in Dundee I got to see first-hand the renaissance the city is undergoing which makes it highly marketable.
“Not only just for the tourists who want to visit the V&A or play a round of golf at Carnoustie, but to businesses and investors as well.
Dundee Airport manager Derrick Lang, said: “Flights to London City were popular with passengers in the past.
“Any increase in frequency of flights to and from Dundee would be welcome.”