Thursday, 17 September 2020

Eastern Airways Makes Heathrow Debut as Teesside Service Takes Off

 Eastern Airways has touched down for the first time at London Heathrow.

Monday saw the first service by the regional operator to the UK flagship airport, re-connecting Teesside with the international hub after more than a decade since the previous operator pulled out.

Photo of the flight departing Teesside sent to us by Richard Bowater

The Humberside-based airline became the only regional airline to operate into Heathrow, with an initial daily service.

On the same day that also saw Eastern’s original route, the Humberside - Aberdeen energy cluster hop, increase to twice daily as demand increases post pandemic lockdown.

The London flight, announced early last month, was served by a 76 seat E-Jet Embraer 170 aircraft

Roger Hage, general manager for commercial and operations at Eastern Airways, said: “As the UK’s regional airline, we at Eastern Airways are all about connecting people and places, which by providing a rare new domestic service into London Heathrow adds a wide array of onward destinations for business and leisure needs, vital for the economic recovery and prosperity of the Teesside region as a whole. 
It also makes for a quick and comfortable option for all to reach the capital or Teesside and adds to our growing network of services supporting the region. We also become the only UK regional airline operating into the capital’s hub in our own name.”

The independent UK-based operator was formed in 1997 and it quickly returned to its own standalone identity in March, when then franchise partner, Flybe, went into administration.

Aviation Minister Robert Courts said: “Re-establishing the route between Teesside International and Heathrow is not only a positive sign that the aviation sector is getting back up and running despite Coronavirus, but also that levelling up the UK is central to Government’s plans and is powering ahead.

“I’m delighted to welcome this route, providing more connections for local people, and boosting communities and businesses.”

Passengers purchasing our Flex fare will have access to the Lufthansa Senator and Business Lounge at Heathrow among its other connection facilities.

 Eastern Airways E-Jet at Heathrow

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye also marked the arrival. He said: “Today’s first flight is the start of an exciting new partnership between Teesside International, Eastern Airways and Heathrow Airport, after an absence of over a decade. 
The Tees Valley region now has the world at their doorstop, and this sort of connectivity will facilitate the economic recovery and future growth for people and businesses across the region.

“The importance and value of hub connectivity to the UK’s regions is critical to the Government’s levelling up agenda. If regions cannot connect to global trade, productivity and skills they will instead experience higher unemployment skills shortages and an investment decline.”

Eastern is developing a strong relationship with Teesside, as it continues to carefully reintroduce services.

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen said: “In just 18 months we’ve gone from our airport facing the prospect of imminent closure, before we did the deal to save it, to an ever-expanding list of destinations and the first plane departing to Heathrow in over a decade.

“This amazing new route gives holidaymakers from Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool access to more than 180 destinations across the world and will play an important role in our plan for jobs for local workers as we recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Linking Teesside to Heathrow, one of the world’s best airports, will mean our amazing companies are not only able to do business in London but can capitalise on our global aspirations with onward flights to scores of worldwide destinations. 

We will also be able to welcome more investors from around the world through our terminal, investors who will create the good-quality well paid jobs we want to see come to Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”