Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is quietly dropping its Newcastle-Copenhagen route from the beginning of next month. It means that from September 3 travellers in the Northeast will no longer have direct access to the Danish capital.
SAS currently operates a single daily flight with a Canadair regional jet (leased from Kimber Air) departing Newcastle at 1340 and reaching Copenhagen at 1625. The inbound flight departs at 1225 arriving Newcastle at 1310.
But from September 3 they'll have to opt for alternative indirect routings such as KLM via Amsterdam or with SAS via Heathrow, Stavanger or Bergen. This will increase the journey time from one hour 45 minutes to as much as four or five hours.
SAS wasn't available for comment. But Newcastle airport is very surprised at the carrier's decision to cancel the route, especially when a number of local firms were using it to access Scandinavia.
Chris Sanders, the airport's manager for aviation development told Business Traveller: "Transport firm Arriva (based in nearby Sunderland) has operations in Scandinavia and Danish shipping company Maersk recently moved its UK head office from London to Newcastle."
"From our own observations the load factors were extremely healthy and the service was carrying both business travellers and passengers making connections at Copenhagen for other destinations on the SAS network.
And this is despite the fact that the timings weren't particularly convenient for business people and that SAS' prices out of Newcastle tended to be higher than the carrier charged from other major airports like Birmingham, Manchester or Heathrow.
Says Chris Sanders, "We at the airport will be working hard to secure a replacement carrier for the route from spring 2007."
Report by Alex McWhirter