VLM drops LCY-Manchester route

20 May 2009 by Mark Caswell

London City Airport (LCY) will lose its air link with Manchester from the end of the month.

VLM currently plies the route up to three times a day, but has announced it will discontinue the route after May 31.

Says a spokesperson, “The route has been heavily loss making and we are impeded by unfair competition from a subsidised rail network and airline ticket taxes that often make up 50 per cent of the overall fare.”

Air service on this route has been in decline for the past few years as Virgin Trains (the London-Manchester rail operator) has gradually made its services more attractive.

Two years ago VLM was fielding seven flights a day between the two cities. That’s now been cut to just three flights a day with timings geared more to the needs of Mancunian than London executives.

Train times have steadily been cut to around two hours while Virgin’s modern Pendolinos operate every 20 minutes throughout the working day. This gives business travellers the sort of frequency normally reserved for a commuter line.

VLM says it is committed to its other services from Manchester. These operate to Antwerp and Rotterdam.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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