Airline fury as costs rise kills service

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AIRLINE Flybe has blamed Gatwick Airport’s rising charges for axing its service to the capital from Leeds at the end of the month.

It is furious that the increased costs have forced it to abandon its three-flights-a-day service from Leeds Bradford Airport which has been used by 50,000 passengers over the last year.

There will now be no direct air service from West Yorkshire to London.

A spokesperson for Flybe said: “The suspension of this route is a direct consequence of the policies being implemented by Gatwick to limit the number of smaller, regional aircraft landing at their airport. Their decision to raise substantially the landing fees for regional aircraft – while implementing significantly smaller rises for larger, more polluting and noisier long-haul aircraft – will hit hard the regions of Yorkshire and the Humber who rely on air links to the capital.

“More than 50,000 passengers flew from Leeds Bradford to London Gatwick with Flybe in 2010. They have now been deprived of a link to the capital because of the charging regime being adopted by Gatwick’s new owners. Flybe remains committed to operating its remaining routes at both London Gatwick and Leeds Bradford airports and our ongoing commitment to serve regional UK economies.”

The spokesperson added: “Leeds Bradford to London Gatwick is a new development route that served the south coast of England, South London and passengers travelling onward to international destinations. In the first few years of any such new route, increased costs have a disproportionate impact.”

A spokeswoman for Leeds Bradford Airport said it is looking to replace the London service as soon as possible.