Liverpool's sole air link with London will be cut to a twice daily service from the beginning of next month.
VLM currently operates a three flights a day service into London's City Airport (LCY). But from February 1 the 1920 service heading south and the 2050 return from LCY will be dropped.
This is all a far cry from three years ago when VLM served the route five times a day. Over the years the Liverpool-London air route has had a chequered history with several carriers trying their hand at making a success of it. Bmi once had a go from Heathrow while Easyjet thought it had a solution with its low fares formula from Luton. But neither succeeded leaving the field open for VLM.
But the Belgian niche airline blames current market conditions for the fall off in traffic. Says a VLM spokesperson, "Despite extensive commercial efforts to support our three-times-daily service, there's currently only demand for two flights a day. As an independent company, we have to ensure that all of our routes are commercially viable."
It could be that some passengers have defected to Virgin's Pendolino trains (these depart Euston hourly with a journey time of 2 hours, 30 mins). On the other hand, it could be argued that rival Manchester airport (which VLM continues to serve eight times a day) is a better gateway for the region.
From February 1, VLM's flights will depart LCY at 0810 and 1745 arriving in Liverpool at 0915 and 1845. The return services leave at 0645 and 1615 to reach LCY at 0745 and 1715 respectively.
For more information go to flyvlm.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter