From April, Irish carrier Aer Lingus will serve seven new destinations from Gatwick, including three key business cities. The routes are being introduced in stages between April 6 and 20.
The airline will offer daily flights to Zurich and Vienna and twice-daily flights to Munich, using Airbus A320 aircraft. Knock, Faro, Nice and Malaga will also be served from the Gatwick base. Prices start from £19.99 (including taxes and charges) one-way and can be booked online.
The new Munich, Vienna and Zurich routes will be of particular interest to business travellers, although some timings might not suit and the single daily flight to Zurich and Vienna may not be enough for more frequent travellers. Aer Lingus may also face difficulties with market awareness, as outside the UK the brand is not as well known as other low-cost carriers.
There has been no London Gatwick-Munich service for several years, with British Airways the last airline to offer the route. BA is currently the only carrier to offer flights from Gatwick to Zurich but this service will end next summer, so Aer Lingus will effectively be replacing British Airways on this route.
Dermot Mannion, chief executive of Aer Lingus, said: “London Gatwick is a unique and significant opportunity for Aer Lingus. It's an important foothold in the biggest aviation market in the world. We are entering one of the most competitive low-cost markets in Europe and we are confident that the Aer Lingus model will see us through. We have the ability, which many legacy carriers do not have, to compete head-to-head with the other low-cost carriers.”
Mannion added that more routes would be added when appropriate and that the airline was considering bases in other European locations.
Aer Lingus flies from Dublin and Knock to European destinations and the new base at Gatwick will be the airline’s first outside Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Report by Sara Turner