Businesses across Tayside are calling for more flights to UK cities amid calls for the reintroduction of a direct Dundee flight to London City.
Research compiled by the Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce showed high demand for a return of the direct flight to the heart of the UK’s capital, as well as routes to Belfast in Northern Ireland and Birmingham in the Midlands.
The Chamber points out there is prime opportunity to develop Dundee’s airport for business users keen to be able to travel to London for a full days’ work before returning to Dundee.
Businesses have told the Chamber they would prefer flights which could get them into the city before 9am.
As many as 50% of the Chamber’s members currently fly to London City from another Scottish airport.
Half of respondents to the Chamber’s airport questionnaire said they would travel from Dundee to London more than five times a year, if a direct route to city was reestablished.
It was announced last week a tender process is underway for an airline operator to provide a link between Dundee and London City airports.
Dundee and Angus Chamber CEO Alison Henderson said: “Having an airport so close to the centre of our Tay Cities region is a key benefit to businesses, inward investors and to attracting tourists to come and enjoy the many attractions that we have here.
“Businesses are also calling for more routes in and out of Dundee, from Birmingham and Belfast to onward overseas connections, we need to ensure that not only do we have a strong and well-used London connection, but that we look to build the use of the airport by encouraging carriers to bring other routes into the frame.
“With a reach of over 800 businesses in our Chamber, we can get swift answers to what routes would be preferred, timings etc and can therefore gauge demand very easily.
“It’s important that we get routes that work for businesses and then do as much as we can to ensure people are using them.”
Dundee Council, the Scottish Government and the Department for Transport are overseeing a two-month competitive tender process that closes on July 17.
Since the service between City airport and Dundee was terminated in 2014, passenger numbers travelling to the capital from the airport (to Stanstead) have more than halved – from 50,000 per year to 21,000.
Dundee West MP Chris Law has launched a petition to show support for the reinstatement of the route.
He said: “The route is the missing piece of the jigsaw for Dundee’s future, and I hope that with this new support it can go from strength-to-strength and deliver not just for business and tourism in Dundee, but for Dundonians wishing to travel to London and beyond.
“I’m positive the people of Dundee will get behind the bid and show their loud and clear support.”
As part of the Tay Cities deal, agreed at the end of last year, more than £9 million is to be pumped into upgrading Dundee Airport, as part of a wider £37 million investment in a regional culture and tourism programme.