Inverness Airport and Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline and the UK's Number One Domestic carrier, today (Monday, May 16, 2011) announced the launch of a new Flybe service to Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. The new route, which will bolster Inverness as the Highland gateway for worldwide travel, will be taking bookings as of Tuesday May 17, for the inaugural flight on Monday, September 5th, 2011.
This announcement is a direct result of discussions between Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL),and Flybe with collaborative support and key funding from HIE. Support funding also has also been contributed by the Highland Council, the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) and VisitScotland.
HIE has awarded £340,000 to HIAL to help secure the new route. The agency has been supportive of the efforts over the past three to four years to introduce a service and has been working on this particular HIAL/Flybe development over the past six months.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HIE said, "Securing this link to one of the world's leading hub airports will deliver great benefits to Highlands and Islands travellers, particularly businesses which are trading in overseas markets or have ambitions to do so.
"HIE has been working with Highlands and Islands Airports for several months now to help secure this important service.
"Today's announcement is also a major vote of confidence in the Highlands and Islands by Flybe."
Mr Paterson continued, "Connections with international markets, whether through broadband or transport links, are critical for the entire region and a major focus for Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
"The direct link to Amsterdam is likely to stimulate in-bound tourism from the Netherlands on a year-round basis and, just as importantly, will enhance the attractiveness of business locations throughout the Highlands and Islands.
"We're delighted that our work with HIAL has led to this hugely positive result for the region."
Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL commented, "Securing a link to Europe's premier hub airport has been a long held aspiration of HIAL and the region and I'm delighted to announce this today. The proposed multi-billion investments in renewables, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) developments and the thriving tourism markets gives this route even greater strategic significance"
Mike Rutter, Flybe's Chief Commercial Officer, said: "Flybe understands the importance of air transport for Inverness and the Highlands. We have been keen to open up this route for many years and so are pleased that with the support of our regional partners this has now come to fruition. We have every confidence that this new route will prove extremely successful in opening up the rest of the world through this key European hub and to further encourage business and leisure connections between these two destinations to Scottish travellers."
The Inverness to Schiphol service will provide seven flights per week during the summer months and six per week during the winter months. Services will depart Inverness Monday to Friday and Sunday from September 5th, 2011 - 23rd March 2012 at 13.05hrs, arriving at Amsterdam at 16.05hrs. Return flights from Amsterdam will depart at 16.30hrs, arriving in Inverness at 17.30hrs. The schedule for Summer 2012 will be released in September (2011).