But apparently not, which is why Southend residents – and those living nearby – can now fly to the United States, from Southend Airport. The new service, taking off at the end of this month, will allow US-bound travelers to fly to New York, Boston, Washington and even Los Angeles, for as little as £199. The service involves two airlines, Flybe providing the first leg from Southend to Dublin and Aer Lingus providing the longer, transatlantic, leg across the ‘pond’.
Not only does this new service mean those living near Southend no longer need travel to Gatwick, Luton or Heathrow to get their flight to the States, but as Dublin Airport is operated by US customs and border staff, on arrival in the US these visitors will be treated as domestic passengers and so can avoid lengthy delays at the airport.
Those twin virtues could represent massive savings in time as well as money and for that reason, we think Flybe and Aer Lingus should be congratulated. As well as Southend Airport itself, now owned by the Stobart Group.
We won’t be surprised if this new service is a success when you consider just how popular regional airports have become in recent years. According to a survey carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) last year, a whopping 95 million holidaymakers hopped on a flight at a regional airport – a nine per cent increase compared with the 87 million people who used a local hub only two year previously.
And growth at the bigger airports, such as Heathrow, saw a much slower rate of growth – indicating that an increasing number of travelers may be ditching the major hubs for somewhere closer to home. Like Southend.