Business leaders and council chiefs have welcomed the launch of British Airways flights from Leeds-Bradford Airport to Heathrow.
And Olympic boxer Luke Campbell lent some heavyweight – or bantamweight – support to the start of the flights.
He joined business leaders, customers and airport personnel to officially welcome British Airways back to Yorkshire.
Luke, who became the first boxer in the bantamweight category to win Olympic gold for Britain in more than a century at the London 2012 Games, met the first flight with Andy Lord, British Airways director of operations, and John Parkin, chief executive Leeds Bradford Airport.
Ian Williams, Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce director, said: “We are really pleased to see the direct link from Leeds Bradford Airport and Heathrow re-established which follows a period of lobbying by the chamber. We continue to encourage businesses in our region to look to the overseas market and this link opens up opportunities through wider access to long-haul destinations.
“Better connections bring benefits both ways. Our region also becomes more accessible to companies looking to trade with businesses in the Yorkshire region. And indeed this will help tourism and leisure travellers coming to this area helping our economy further.
“We would also congratulate the teams at Leeds Bradford Airport and British Airways for getting this link up and running and think Heathrow will once again become the hub for many businesses looking to export overseas. We would encourage take up of the service and for business travellers to make the most of the improved connections.”
Coun Keith Wakefield, council leader, said the airport had a key role to play in the city’s transport strategy and it was encouraging to see it doing well
Mr Lord said: “This is about the best of British and I am delighted that one of our Olympic gold medallists helped celebrate British Airways’ return to Leeds Bradford Airport.”