London Oxford Airport highlights benefits at ERA Regional Airline Conference

Monday 4th April 2011

For the first time since becoming a member of ERA (European Regions Airline Association) London Oxford Airport will be participating at the annual spring conference, which will be held in Malta from Wednesday 06 April to Thursday 07 April 2011. David Surley, Oxford's Head of Route Development & Customer Services, will join up to 180 senior representatives from ERA member companies, to increase awareness of the award-winning Thames Valley regional airport and its exceptional central UK market characteristics. Oxford is the UK's best performing regional economy, located within an hour of more than five million of the country's most affluent population.

Jersey 2011 sales ahead, year-on-year

London Oxford Airport's successful seasonal Jersey service for CI Travel Group will resume operations for summer 2011. The service will operate from mid-May through to mid-September utilising a Cityjet, 50-seat Fokker 50 aircraft with departures every Saturday at 11:50. Tickets are now on sale and once again agents are reporting keen interest with 50 percent capacity already sold. The average load factor for 2010 was consistent across the summer season and local travel agent and ATOL tour operator Great Experience recorded a 'staggering' increase in sales for the year. Great Experience also operates as Oxford Airport Travel, specialising in local departures from the airport. The sales and marketing campaign for this popular route is additionally supported by radio and press advertising with strong support from the local branches of Co-Operative Travel.

New services to 'the Med' - Palma introduced

Direct flights to Palma, Mallorca, have been introduced for the first time this year, operated by Eastern Airways 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft, departing on Saturdays at 08:50 from mid-June onwards. A wide range of villa, hotel, self-catering and rustic retreat properties are being offered, as well as seat only. Local tour operator and travel agency Oxford Airport Travel is managing all sales and enquiries, having appointed highly regarded Balearic Discovery as sole destination services partner, in Mallorca. Palma-based ground handler Assistair will oversee all flight turnarounds.

"We are particularly excited to have introduced the Mediterranean to our destination portfolio this summer," said David Surley. "Mallorca is undoubtedly the most frequently-requested destination by local holidaymakers seeking a more convenient and user-friendly, local departure and small airport travel experience. Other destinations on our wish list include Portugal, Malta, Italy, Southern Spain and various European city destinations, which Oxford Airport hopes to see introduced in the near future. Regional France, including the Dordogne and Loire regions are also popular requests from our catchment market of around five million people within an hour of the Airport. We also plan to introduce new ski-services to the Alps this coming winter."

Business Travel

London Oxford Airport is in dialogue with a number of regional carriers and anticipates announcing flights to new business destinations within the coming months. The Airport's runway has recently been re-classified at 3C status, with a TODA of up to 1,592m, which is better suited to commercial airlines seeking effective high-capacity uplift on regional aircraft to European destinations. Ad-hoc charter by types including the Saab 2000 and BAe 146 are becoming more common and the Airport is working hard to satisfy increasing local demand for destinations including domestic and nearby European points that regional businesses will support. Oxford is home to a strengthening high-tech, academic and publishing sector and growing automotive industry with BMW Mini just six miles from the Airport. Among other economic developments, the region is one of Europe's leading science and research centres, with the new European Space Research Agency based just outside Oxford.

Airport Infrastructure

London Oxford Airport's infrastructure is developing to offer class-leading services and facilities for niche regional airlines - the state-of-the-art terminal opened just two and a half years ago, offering hassle-free, upscale throughput for regional aircraft passengers, low-cost parking and speedy security and check-in processes that meet the savvy traveller's needs in full. In early 2013 a new rail link to London Marylebone will open just a few minutes from the Airport at the currently under-construction Water Eaton Parkway (North Oxford) just off the A34 connector between the M40 and M4 motorways. Journey times with award-winning Chiltern Railways into London will be less than an hour and the new service will also re-open train links to High Wycombe.

Pet Handling

London Oxford Airport is one of only a handful of UK airports with full DEFRA approval for the importation of domestic pets. Owners of dogs, cats and ferrets can transport their pets on flights into the Airport from overseas under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). "Clearly many travellers see the flexibility of the PETS quarantine exemption process as of paramount convenience and here we make the procedures very accessible for approved passenger airlines," said David Surley.

- Ends -

Photo Caption: Leah Bruton, Customer Services & Passenger Handling Agent with David Surley, Head of Route Development & Customer Services London Oxford Airport. Hi Res image available on request. Editor's Notes: London Oxford Airport is wholly owned by the Reuben Brothers. The Reuben Brothers' investment activities include private equity and real estate ownership and development. Investments are predominantly based in the United Kingdom and Europe. Businesses include shopping centres, mixed use commercial real estate, data centres, public houses, hotels and development projects.

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