Air Humberside

Air Humberside

 

 

Your guide to Humberside Airport

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History

Airport History (up to 2007)

The Beginning

 

Humberside Airport is on the site of RAF Kirmington, a 2nd World War airfield under the auspices of Bomber Command. In January 1943 the base became the home of 166 Squadron which initially flew Wellington MK111s until they were replaced by Lancaster bombers. Operational activity by the squadron ceased on 25th April 1945.

 

At the end of the war the airfield became farmland before the return of small scale flying in the 1960's. Operations included local air-taxi company, Humber Airways. Lindsey County Council bought the site in 1969, upgrading it to meet Civil Aviation Authority standards. Further investment came from British Steel, who used the airport as the base for their fleet of executive aircraft.

 

In 1972 the original Eastern Airways was established at the airport; Eastern Airways was the trading name of Lease Air, a subsidiary of the Leighford Group and operated initially as an air-taxi operator, before also offering executive charter flights from 1973. By 1979 Eastern Airways had amassed a fleet of 2 Douglas DC-3s, 2 Piper Navajos, 7 Piper Aztecs and 1 Ce 310.

 

On March 26th 1974, Alderman Albert Cox, Chairman of the Lindsey Planning Committee declared Kirmington (Lincolnshire) Airport officially open, the initial development work having been completed. 6 days later following local government reorganisation, the airport was renamed to Humberside Airport and the newly formed Humberside County Council became the airports owners. In 1974 the airport served 5,934 passengers.

 

1975 saw a new passenger terminal open, and the first scheduled flight commenced on 7th April to Amsterdam, a service that has operated ever since. The route was operated by Air Anglia who opened an outstation at the airport. Later in the month a weekend link to Jersey was established and this was followed by other routes to Birmingham, Glasgow, London Heathrow, Norwich and Teesside.

 

The 1980's - Eastern Airways, DC-3's to Heathrow and Genair

 

In January 1980, Air Anglia became part of Air UK who continued to serve Humberside. However operations soon decreased with routes to Birmingham and Teesside ending. In 1981 Eastern Airways replaced Air UKs Glasgow and London Heathrow via Norwich routes, initially using DC-3s before a Shorts SD330 took over from July; 1981 also saw the airline add a HS 125 executive jet to its fleet. Air UKs presence was reduced to single weekday services to Aberdeen and Amsterdam.

 

In September 1982, General Relay, owner of Liverpool based Genair, announced the purchase of Eastern Airways and Teesside based Casair. The three airlines were merged under the Genair name and the merged entity was based at Humberside with operations beginning on October 24th. Joint Managing Directors were Bob Marshall and Bryan Huxford, the latter of whom became a pivotal figure in the modern day Eastern Airways. The fleet comprised 5 SD330s, 1 SD360 and 4 Embraer 110 Baindeirantes. Humberside Airport benefited from new routes to Belfast, Edinburgh and Norwich while frequencies were increased to London Gatwick, London Heathrow and Glasgow. Fast moving developments saw Genair join British Caledonians Commuter Services network in November 1982.

 

By Summer 1983, Air UK had increased their Amsterdam service to three times a day on weekdays alongside the single weekday Aberdeen service. For Summer 1984 a single rotation to Amsterdam had been added on Saturdays and Sundays.

 

April 1984 saw Bryan Huxford leave Genair, while as part of a network expansion Humberside gained new Genair routes to Esbjerg and Jersey. A weekday service was also provided in Summer 1984 to London Stansted. However by July 1984 operating debts were 4 million and $12 million was owed aircraft lessor Greyhound Leasing Group. These debts led to Genair ceasing operations on July 14th, 1984. Air UK resumed the Humberside-London Heathrow link alongside existing routes to Aberdeen, Amsterdam and Edinburgh. For Summer 1985 Air UK served Aberdeen, Amsterdam (by now operating four times a day on weekdays), Edinburgh, Esbjerg, Jersey, London Heathrow and Norwich.

 

Air Ecosse took over other routes following the collapse of Genair, and in October 1986 served Teesside, Leeds Bradford and London Gatwick from Humberside. Casair had managed to resume operations from Teesside and Humberside was part of its network; in 1985 it provided a twice daily Humberside-Teesside-Glasgow link using a Cessna C404 Titan.

 

A new west apron opened in 1986, and the airport became a private limited company following a change in the Airports Act. Annual passenger numbers had reached 109,744. In the Summer of 1986, British Air Ferries and Guernsey Airlines had provided Saturday links to Jersey and Guernsey respectively.

 

The airports Summer 1987 timetable shows Air UK providing Humberside-Norwich-London Heathrow, Norwich-Humberside-Edinburgh-Aberdeen and Humberside-Amsterdam links alongside a Saturday Jersey service. Casair provided competition to Aberdeen with a single daily flight on weekdays returning via Newcastle, alongside a twice daily Humberside-Teesside-Glasgow service. Cimber Air had started flights to Humberside, providing a weekday link to Esbjerg instead of Air UK. On Summer Saturdays Air UK had competition to Jersey from British Air Ferries and Guernsey Airlines, while the airport also had a weekly seasonal charter flight to Palma/Majorca. As can be seen Air Ecosse had ceased to serve Humberside by this time.

 

All Summer 1987 services continued into Winter 1987-1988, with Casair also starting a weekday Belfast service and adding a second frequency on their Aberdeen route. In March 1988 Casair ceased operations, and for Summer 1988 Air UK made amendments to their operations, one of their two Aberdeen services was routed via Teesside instead of Edinburgh, and a 3rd, non-stop, frequency added. This pattern of operation continued until at least Summer 1989, with Cimber Airs Esbjerg service operating until at least this time as well. However the Esbjerg service was later passed to Newair before stopping in the early 1990's. 1989 saw a new airline was set up at the airport, Skyrover. They began flights to Dusseldorf. The summer service was a huge success but by winter, loads had decreased and the airline stopped flights.

 

The Early 1990's Goodbye Heathrow, hello Air Hong Kong B747 (once)

 

The start of the decade saw a big blow to the airport as Air UK stopped its London Heathrow flights in March 1990 due to high landing charges. Amsterdam, East Coast and Jersey services operated by Air UK were unaffected.

 

April 1990 brought better news with a runway extension approved by the Minister for Aviation Patrick McCoughlin, who authorised 8 million of borrowing to fund it. Work commenced in 1991, bringing the runway length to 2200m. The extension opened in 1992, leading to the start of regular charter flights to European holiday destinations (though Hispania had operated some Majorca flights in the late 1980s). The first season of summer charter flights saw services to Palma and Tenerife with tour operators Airtours and Thomson. To mark the runway extension, an Air Hong Kong B747 visited the airport, Around this time the airport used to hold yearly airshows and there were various visits by Concorde.

 

The charter programme continued to grow over the next few years with some destinations more successful than others. Airlines involved in operating flights at included Air Malta, Airtours, Britannia and Monarch. Destinations included Corfu, the Costa Brava, Cyprus, Izmir, Malta, Rhodes and Turkey as well as the slightly less exotic Alicante, Gran Canaria, Palma, Menorca and Tenerife.

 

Ambition but failure in regional routes

 

1992-3 saw a based Jetstream 31 flying to Glasgow three times a day on weekdays, once daily to Belfast International and a weekend Dublin service. The routes were initially operated by Brymon Airways around the time of their merger with Birmingham European Airways, though later changed to operating under the British Airways brand as part of a franchise arrangement with the operating carrier being Maersk Air UK.

 

1994 saw another attempt to expand regional scheduled services from Humberside. EuroDirect Airlines started flights in August to Aberdeen (in competition with Air UK), Bournemouth, Brussels, Dublin and London Stansted using Jetstream 31 and ATP aircraft. Onward connections were available to Exeter and Paris CDG at Bournemouth and to Hamburg at London Stansted.

 

By October changes were being made to the schedules. Bournemouth flights where reduced from twice to once daily and Dublin flights to weekends only while the route to Stansted was dropped completely. However non-stop flights to Paris CDG and Hamburg were announced. A weekly Manchester flight was also operated as a positioning move. Routes to Aberdeen and Brussels continued as before.

 

December however saw yet more changes. Paris CDG, Bournemouth and Dublin were axed while the Hamburg service never started. Flights to Aberdeen and Brussels, which appeared to do well continued until the airline stopped flights in early 1995. 

 

It only took a few weeks before the Brussels link was re-established. It was operated by EuroDirect Belgium. They had operated as an associated company of Euro Direct Airlines but had managed to resume flights. The route was operated in partnership with the Belgium national airline Sabena until it sadly ended in 1996.

 

With the end of Stansted flights in October 1994, the airport lost a key business route to London. However in November a new start up airline, City Air Bus started regular Dornier 228 flights to London City. Sadly this service too failed in early 1995; in the same week the airline had planned to start a new route to Cardiff.

 

By 1996 once again Air UK was the airports only scheduled airline. In the Summer of 1996 they served Aberdeen via Teesside, Amsterdam and Jersey on Summer Saturdays; Norwich and Edinburgh services having ended at the end of Summer 1994. 1997 saw new hope as a new airline, Western Regional Airlines, planned to start flights from Humberside. The main and initial route was to be to Brussels, to be complemented by Belfast, Copenhagen and at least one Danish Regional Airport. The plan was to use a Beechcraft 1900 but sadly flights never started.

 

While at the time there was much promise with expansion of charter flights and by scheduled airlines, the number of routes that ended up being axed did not help the airports reputation. And the suspension and later departure of the airport managing director, plus a debate over the airports future ownership did not help matters.

 

The Late 1990's Eastern Airways, Florida and Manchester

 

1996 saw the opening of a new helicopter terminal while facilities in the main terminal were upgraded and expanded, including a new restaurant.

 

The year also saw the county of Humberside abolished, with the former Humberside County Councils shares in Humberside Airport split between East Riding of Yorkshire Council who got 39.1% of the shares, Hull City Council who got 26.1% and North and North East Lincolnshire Councils who split the remainder equally between them. By 1999 only North Lincolnshire Council retained its shares; the other three local councils sold their shares to Manchester Airport, giving them an 82.7% shareholding.

 

In 1997 Humbersides main airline, Air UK, was taken over by their partner KLM. While the Amsterdam service remained domestic flights to Aberdeen (via Teeside) and Jersey were dropped. Initially British Regional Airlines, operating as British Airways, replaced Air UK on the Aberdeen route with a once daily non-stop service.

 

However, the demise of Air UK led to the set up of a new Eastern Airways during late 1997. Like the original airline, Eastern Airways set up base at Humberside and initially operated a twice daily non-stop Aberdeen service. This higher frequency forced the pull out of British Airways. Eastern Airways has since expanded significantly, and while it continues to only offer Aberdeen from Humberside, it has invested considerably in its head office, maintenance and training facilities at Humberside.

 

Humberside Airport also went long haul in 1997. Thomson Holidays, using a Britannia B767, offered two flights to Florida and one to the Dominican Republic, with a stop on the outward leg at Shannon in Ireland. Sadly these flights were not repeated again as a change of policy led to these special departure holidays being stopped.

 

1999 saw a significant new scheduled service from Humberside. Newcastle based Gill Airways, operating under an Air France franchise, started flights to Paris CDG on the 4th May. Furthermore during the year Gama Aviation converted a service on behalf of Bond Helicopters to Aberdeen from charter to scheduled status.

 

Changing Century - A focus on Charters and arrival of the Low Cost Airline

 

Unfortunately the Paris service didnt last more than a year into the new century and ended on December 16th 2000 following financial problems at Gill Airways. 2000 also saw a short lived Norwich-Humberside-Glasgow service from Eastern Airways. Eastern then tried a Humberside to Edinburgh route in April 2002, but this ceased by Christmas. Also in the early 2000s Gama Aviation ceased their Aberdeen service, though Eastern Airways remained on the route.

 

Charter flights continued to grow in the early 21st century. Although Cosmos had pulled out of the airport in the late 1990s, the airport welcomed JMC (now Thomas Cook). Various tour operators added new routes including Lanzarote and Bodrum. Humberside was one of the countrys fastest growing airports, and in March 2003 broke the 500,000 passengers milestone for the first time. January 2003 saw a major extension to the airport restaurant, and a new bar was also opened to cater for the increased number of passengers using the airport terminal.

 

February 2003 saw the announcement of a regular freight service with Icelandair Cargo. Operating from Keflavik, the flights carried fish and initially operated twice weekly, but later increased in frequency. As well as their own B757-200F's, Icelandair Cargo used Bluebird Cargo 737F's and Aviapaslauga Tu-204C's on some flights.

 

October 2003 saw a sad event, as a passenger-carrying Concorde visited Humberside for the last time before retirement. In 2004 the BBC exposed security breaches at Humberside Airport, with a reporter able to gain access to the airfield.

 

With the opening of Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield airport at the former RAF Finningley site, and cutbacks at the airports main tour operator, Airtours, 2005 was bad year at Humberside. Instead of rising, like they had done for a number of years, passenger numbers fell. Thomson moved some charter flights to the new Doncaster airport and Airtours pulled others. Local Media expressed concern for the future of the airport. One positive however was the opening of a new base for the Humberside Police Helicopter, which moved from RAF Leconfield.

 

However 2006 saw a dramatic turn of fortune including the first based charter aircraft at the airport. Excel Airways based a B737-800 at Humberside for half the week in the summer season. Meanwhile the first regular intercontinental service started with a weekly Summer charter flight to Monastir in Tunisia. Furthermore Ryanair opened a new daily Dublin service in April using a B737-800, the first low cost service from Humberside Airport.

 

Then it all went wrong (again)

 

In a flashback to the mid 1990s when regional routes never stuck around for long, Excel Airways and Ryanair soon announced they were pulling out of Humberside. Excel Airways had planned to base an aircraft all week at Humberside for Summer 2007 but in Autumn 2006 announced they would not be returning to Humberside in 2007. Summer 2007 also saw the loss of the Monastir flight.

 

Ryanair also left in October 2006 due to disappointing loads. Their Dublin route was attracting over 5000 passengers a month but on average this meant only half the seats on its B737-800 aircraft were full. This left Humberside with no low cost airline and once again only two scheduled routes Aberdeen and Amsterdam two routes which the airport has successfully managed to keep over the years when many others have come and gone.

 

Sources

 

My own records and collections plus:

 

Books:

         abc British Airports, 6th Edition - Alan J. Wright

 

Individuals:

         Gordon Luck (via Air Humberside Forum)

         John Tarran

         Kirmingtonuser (via Air Humberside Forum)

 

Magazine Articles:

         Genair, Official British Caledonian Commuter Carrier: Article by Matt Falcus in Airliner World August 2011, pages 62-66

 

Websites:

         Air Ecosse Airline Timetable Image - http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/sm.htm [Accessed 14th February 2012]

         Airport Website History Page - http://www.humbersideairport.com/huyweb.nsf/Content/OurHistory [Accessed 14th February 2012]

         BBC Inside Out - http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/yorkslincs/series5/airport_security_humberside.shtml [Accessed 15th February 2012]

         Dave Mark, Yorkshire Post - http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/around-yorkshire/local-stories/in-the-late-1960s-it-was-an-overgrown-airfield-given-over-to-farmland-and-its-history-as-a-bomber-station-largely-forgotten-but-as-it-celebrates-its-30th-birthday-humberside-airport-is-flying-high-dave-mark-reports-on-its-incredible-journey-1-2426439 [Accessed 13th October 2012]

         Old Air Humberside Forum - http://www.phpbber.com/phpbb/index.php?mforum=airhumberside 

         Unofficial Humberside Airport website (unrelated to this site) - http://website.lineone.net/~humberside_airport/ (site may no longer be accessible)

 

Section last updated 29th January 2017.



Review of 2008

2008 certainly provided plenty of talking points. The airport spent much of the year up for sale, only for it to come of the market for rather uncertain reasons. The perishables hub was finally built and Hangar 9 was taken over. There was an expansion of winter charter flights, though serious declines in summer charter flights, while Bristow Helicopters returned to the airport.

 

The start of the year

 

The winter 2007/08 charter season saw the loss of two long standing charter flights; the weekly Gran Canaria flight and the Tuesday Tenerife flight. This was the continuation of a decline in winter charter to sun destinations over the past few years. The one bright spot was a new ski charter to Innsbruck in Austria. This brought a new tour operator, Inghams, and a new airline Austrian Arrows, to Humberside. Overall the winter charter programme was as follows:

 

Thursday

MyTravel Airways to Lanzarote B757-200

 

Friday

MyTravel Airways to Tenerife B757-200

 

Saturday

Austrian Arrows to Innsbruck - Fokker 70 - Operated from 22nd December to 22nd March

ThomsonFly to Alicante - B737-800

 

Sunday

BH Air to Plovidv - A320 Operated inbound via Edinburgh - Operated from Late December to March

 

The MyTravel Airways flights were operated by an aircraft outstation at Humberside. It would typically arrive on a Wednesday evening and depart on a Friday night after returning from Tenerife.

 

Scheduled services were as normal; KLM to Amsterdam three or four times a day, usually with a Fokker 70, and Eastern Airways to Aberdeen four times a day on weekdays and once on Sundays with a Jetstream 41. There was also the CHC Scotia helicopter operation and Icelandair Cargo fish flights from Kefalvik three or four nights a week.

 

The first piece of big news came in the spring as Hangar 9 was taken over by aircraft maintenance company Roissy International. The hangar never seemed to get much use before the takeover, at least by commercial aircraft, and not that much more use since. During the year it was visited by Eagle Aviation B757s in Saudi Arabian Airlines colours, and new start up Amsterdam Airlines with their A320.

 

And then all the bad news

 

Sadly the spring also brought a lot of bad news. Icelandair Cargo reduced to operating just on Sundays, with the midweek flights moving to East Midlands. And the first version of the summer 2009 charter programme was released by the tour operators bringing further cuts to the Humberside charter schedule. Further because summer 2007 had already seen cutbacks with XL Airways closing their summer base after just one season. Then this summer saw a further five long standing charter flights dropped: Alicante, the Saturday Ibiza, Sunday Palma, 2nd Saturday Palma and 2nd Monday Dalaman.

 

Not that the summer 2008 charter season was all bad; a second Heraklion flight was added while charters to Bodrum and Dalaman for Goldtrail Holdiays were extended to operate all summer season rather than just from July onwards as happened in 2007. But far less capacity was added than was dropped. The full schedule was:

 

Monday

  • Sun Express to Dalaman - B737-800

Tuesday

  • Air Europa to Tenerife B737-800
  • Eurocypria to Heraklion - B737-800
  • First Choice Airways to Palma A321
  • Onur Air to Bodrum - A321
  • Onur Air to Dalaman - A321

Wednesday

  • Air Europa to Fuerteventura B737-800
  • BH Air to Bourgas - A320
  • Eurocypria to Larnaca - B737-800

Thursday

  • Air Europa to Lanzarote - B737-800
  • First Choice Airways to Faro A320
  • ThomsonFly to Palma - B737-300

Friday

  • Eurocypria to Heraklion - B737-800
  • Futura to Menorca B737-800
  • Futura to Tenerife - B737-800
  • Iberworld to Ibiza - A320
  • Pegasus to Dalaman - B737-800

Saturday

  • Eurocypria to Larnaca - B737-800
  • Futura to Gran Canaria - B737-800
  • Spanair to Palma MD-82 or MD-83
  • VLM to Jersey - Fokker 50

Sunday

  • BH Air to Bourgas - A320
  • Sun Express to Antalya - B737-800

Though the really big news was the announcement in April of a strategic review by majority owners Manchester Airport Group (MAG), including a possible transfer of ownership. That was widely interpreted as definite sale. MAG said the airport may not fit easily with their emerging strategy and needed attention to maximise its full potential. And attention it needed, and still needs, to stop a slow decline. The rest of the year saw that attention lacking as the airport seemed to go into care and maintenance mode. Everyday operations continued but there was hardly any marketing and the website was very rarely updated.

 

Somethings a bit more positive

 

In August Bristow Helicopters set up a new operation while the spring and summer saw the long mooted perishables hub actually being built. This project actually had very little to do with the airport and is owned by North Lincolnshire Council. Anglia Cargo International are the operator funding came from the EU and Yorkshire Forward. The official opening was performed by Regional Minister Rosie Winterton MP on 10th November. Just a shame that the Icelandair Cargo flights that bring fish into the region have reduced in frequency. Lets hope it doesnt become a white elephant or is used for freight that is not being airlifted.

 

A couple of interesting movements during the year were the first flight of new airline Amsterdam Airlines being from its namesake airport to Humberside. PH-AAX, an A320 made its inaugural flight for its new airline on the 21st of June. Then on the 13th November the first commercial transatlantic flight for at least 10 years flew from Humberside to Miami. TOM515, operated by a ThomsonFly B767-300ER, routed via Belfast International to collect both fuel and passengers, for the Fred Olsen Cruise Line and returned on the 28th November. Might not have been non-stop but it was a same plane service and a nice symbolic moment.

 

November was a good month for Humberside actually, with a 1.9% rise in passengers. November is the start of the winter charter season and the main news was the return of Gran Canaria, albeit with a break between mid November and mid February. Fuerteventura also operated for a few weeks in November while Larnaca and Palma flights will operate in April. This is all down to having a Thomas Cook Airlines B757 outbased at Humberside for the winter charter season. The only bad news is that the Plovdiv ski charter with Balkan Holidays only seems to be operating for a few weeks in early 2009 rather than starting in December as usual. The full winter 2009/10 charter schedule is:

 

         Austrian Arrows to Innsbruck on a Saturday with a Fokker 70 from December to March (ski flight)

         BH Air to Plovdiv on a Sunday with a A320, inbound via Edinburgh, in February and March (ski flight)

         Thomas Cook Airlines to Fuerteventura on a Wednesday, with a B757-200 during early November

         Thomas Cook Airlines to Gran Canaria on the first 3 Saturdays in November, and then every Saturday from February to April, with a B757-200

         Thomas Cook Airlines to Lanzarote on a Thursday, with a B757-200

         Thomas Cook Airlines to Larnaca on a Wednesday, with a B757-200 in April

         Thomas Cook Airlines to Palma on a Saturday, with a B757-200 in April

         Thomas Cook Airlines to Tenerife on a Friday, with a B757-200

         ThomsonFly to Alicante on a Tuesday, with a B737-800

 

December saw two pieces of news in two days. On the 16th, MAG took Humberside off the market, issuing rather contradictory reasons why. On one hand they cite the arrival of Bristow helicopters, continued strong performance by KLM, the perishables hub and discussions about further developments and reasons. Good news you may think. But MAG also cite the economic downturn, which would imply low bids for the airport, or maybe even no bid at all (MAG did state there had been possible purchasers).

 

The next day saw an announcement of a return of low cost services to Humberside. But dont get too excited Im afraid. It was just the conversion of the existing VLM charter in summer to Jersey to a Flybe scheduled seats on a larger aircraft.

 

Provisional 2008 passengers figure from the CAA, as off 16th January 2009 is 424402, 8.9% down on 2007.

 

And that was 2008.

 

Sources

         MAG to review its stake in Humberside Airport, Press Release issued by Humberside Airport on 25th April - http://www.humbersideairport.com/huyweb.nsf/Content/HumbersideReview

         MAG scraps sale of Humber Airport, Crains Manchester Business,  17th December http://www.crainsmanchesterbusiness.co.uk/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081217/FREE/312179993/1147/-/-/mag-scraps-sale-of-humberside-airport

         Roissy International website: http://roissyint.users46.webfusion.co.uk/ri//index.php

 

Date added to site: 5th January 2009



2009 and 2010

Reviews of 2009 and 2010 to come.


Review 2011

2011 started off quietly. For the second winter running there were no regular charter flights. This meant that regular airline operations comprised KLMs three daily Amsterdam flights, Eastern Airways Aberdeen service, operating four times a day Monday to Thursday, three times a day on Fridays and once on Sundays, and a weekly Sunday evening freight service from Keflavik, operated by Icelandair Cargo. Bristow and CHC Scotia helicopters provided services to North Sea Oil and Gas installations.

 

Good news came on January 26th when Ryanair announced a new service to Alicante, off which more later. On February 2nd the first ever known charter flight to attempt to see the Northern Lights was offered by Omega Holidays, using a Thomas Cook Airlines A320. March 14th saw Weston Aviation announce plans to open a Business Aviation Centre on June 1st. Humberside was the third airport in Weston Aviations portfolio of centres, which specialises in regional airports. The Centre ended up opening early due to demand, being christened by a visiting Embraer Phenom 100 from Oxford based FlairJet.

 

Summer

 

In the scheduled airline world, Summer starts in late March when Daylight Savings Time commences. The big change for Humberside in 2011 was that the seasonal 4th daily frequency on KLMs Amsterdam service did not return for 2011; in 2010 this had operated between late March and late June, and again from late August until late October. Despite this loss of capacity, loads from Humberside to Amsterdam held up well. Civil Aviation Authority Provisional Statistics showed just single digit percentage fall in loads in the months affected by the frequency reduction, with growth during July and August when the frequency was largely unchanged,

 

The positive development of the Summer started on 12th April, when Ryanair commenced a new twice weekly scheduled service to Alicante. This marked a return to Humberside for Ryanair, who had last served the airport with a daily Dublin service in Summer 2006. It was also the first ever scheduled service from Humberside to Alicante, and the first time Alicante had been served from Humberside since April 2009, when the last Thomson charter flight to the Costa Blanca operated.

 

On the negative side, Flybes weekly Summer Saturday scheduled service to Malaga did not return for 2011. The route had only begun in 2010, operating from late May until mid September. Performance was thought to be good, with Flybes Chief Commercial Officer telling the Scunthorpe Telegraph in August 2010 that load factors were amongst the highest in their range of Summer Sun routes. However this clearly was not enough for a 2011 return of the service. Flybe did continue their Summer Saturday Jersey scheduled service for 2011.

 

May was the start of the Summer charter season, which while bringing some good news, was overall a story of further decline. Independent tour operator h4u, using Onur Air, started services to Bodrum, a destination lost in 2010 following the collapse of Goldtrail Holidays. There was also an increase in the number of a one-off special departure holidays; Newmarket Holidays doubled their departures from 4 to 8 while newcomers to Humberside, Atlantic Holidays and Omega Holidays offered a single departure each.

 

However these positive developments were overshadowed by drastic reductions to Crete and Cyprus following the collapse of Cypriot charter airline Eurocypria. Thomas Cook Holidays pulled their weekly Heraklion and Larnaca charter flights, while Olympic Holidays reduced the operating period for their weekly flights, and switched airline to Fly Hellas. Humberside had also been expecting a new weekly service to Enfidha in Tunisia with Thomas Cook Holidays, but this was cancelled before it started after Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring.

 

Overall the Summer 2011 Charter Programme was:

 

Mondays

  • Thomas Cook Airlines to Antalya - Airtours, Thomas Cook

Tuesdays

  • Fly Hellas to Heraklion - Olympic Holidays - late May to mid September only
  • Thomas Cook Airlines to Dalaman - Airtours, Thomas Cook

Wednesdays

  • Fly Hellas to Larnaca - Olympic Holidays - May to early July only
  • Onur Air to Bodrum - h4u

Thursdays

  • Air Europa B737-800 to Palma - First Choice, Thomson
  • Onur Air to Dalaman - h4u

Fridays

  • Onur Air to Dalaman - h4u - 29th July and 26th August to 30th September only

Saturdays

  • Thomas Cook Airlines to Palma - Airtours, Thomas Cook

Sundays

  • BH Air A320 to Bourgas - Balkan Holidays

(Some flights did not operate during the Scottish School Holidays in late June/early July)


In August, Humberside was impacted by collapse of h4u, resulting in the cancellation of Onur Air services to Bodrum and Dalaman once repatriation flights for customers in Turkey at the time of the collapse had been completed. This was the second Summer in a row that an independent Turkish tour operator, that included Humberside departures in its portfolio, had collapsed during the peak Summer season.

 

Financial Insight

 

In August the annual insight into Humbersides financial performance was available, as the Manchester Airport Group Annual Report and Accounts 2010-11 were released.

 

In relation to Humberside, the report noted difficult trading conditions and the impact of the recession, before highlighting various positives. Humberside is reported to be one of KLMs strongest UK stations. Initial loads and yields for Ryanairs Alicante service were described as excellent with the possibility of an expanded Summer 2012 schedule mooted.

 

Aviation income per passenger reduced from 12 to 11.30 year on year, and commercial income per passenger excluding property fell from 9.20 to 9. More positively operating costs per passenger fell from 25 to 24.30. Revenue was 6.6 million, down from 6.8 million in 2009-10. Operating losses were flat at 700,000.

 

Going into Winter

 

Following the end of the Summer charter season in October, it was back to Aberdeen and Amsterdam again as far as public passenger flights were concerned. The Icelandair Cargo and North Sea helicopter services continued as usual but otherwise the only notable events were another Northern Lights flight and two Lapland daytrips, including the annual flight organised by the When You Wish Upon A Star charity.

 

In December came disappointing news regarding Ryanairs Alicante service; it was announced that this would not return for Summer 2012. Ryanair had been in a dispute with Alicante Airport over the airports demand that Ryanair use airbridges. Humberside was one of 18 routes from Alicante cancelled by Ryanair. As a result of this decision, Ryanair have left Humberside for the second time, and Humberside is once again left with no service to Alicante or Mainland Spain. Flybes Summer Saturday Jersey service remains the airports only service from a low cost airline. So much for the mooted expansion of Ryanair services in the Manchester Airport Group Annual Report.

 

Customer Satisfaction

 

Throughout the year Humberside was recognised for customer satisfaction. In February Humberside won the Best European Airport award at the 2010 Airport Service Quality Awards. In March leaked internal industry figures from the Airports Council International revealed that Humberside was the 9th best airport in the world for customer satisfaction. Finally in December the consumers association rated Humberside as the 3rd best UK airport for customer satisfaction.

 

Conclusion

 

The Civil Aviation Authority reports full year passenger figures were 273,000 (rounded to nearest 100,000), down from 283,000 in 2010. Cargo handled was 1132 tonnes, nearly double the 600 tonnes handled in 2010.

 

So that was 2011, a year of further decline in the charter offering and a brief return by Ryanair. And the words further decline in the charter offering can be used to describe 2012 as well ... and they were applicable, in Summer at least, in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The issue for Humberside has been the lack of new scheduled flights to replace lost charters, and with the current economic environment, the situation does not look set to change anytime soon.

 

Sources

 

Civil Aviation Authority Website

Manchester Airport Group Annual Report and Accounts 2010-11 - http://www.manchesterairport.co.uk/manweb.nsf/alldocs/53E11FF0F4168513802578E8005BD89D/$File/Annual_Report_and_Accounts_10-11.pdf

Ryanair Press Release: Ryanair an nounces 4 new Manchester routes to Alicante, Faro, Madrid and Tenerife http://www.ryanair.com/en/news/ryanair-announces-4-new-manchester-routes-to-alicante-faro-madrid-and-tenerife

Scunthorpe Telegraph: Humberside Airports joy as Malaga flights bring more passengers, 26th August 2010 - http://www.thisisscunthorpe.co.uk/new-route-s-really-taken/story-11188006-detail/story.html

The Air Humberside Forum

Travel Daily News: Ryanair cuts Alicante summer 2012 schedule by up to 50% http://www.traveldailynews.com/pages/show_page/46806-Ryanair-cuts-Alicante-summer-2012-schedule-by-up-to-50%25

Weston Aviation Press Release: 'Weston Aviation Opens New FBO at Humberside International Airport on the 1st June 2011' - http://www.westonaviation.com/news/weston_aviation_to

 

Review Updated 14th May 2012

 


 

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