Vueling doubles down at Brum
In the run up to the 149th Slot Conference, Vueling announced that it will add a second route from Birmingham Airport – the UK’s third largest airport outside London, and the UK’s seventh largest overall – a three times weekly A321 service from Paris Orly, which began on 3 November. “This is a great new route for Birmingham. We are incredibly pleased that Vueling has committed to this new service, increasing capacity to Paris from Birmingham and adding to its existing Barcelona service,” says Tom Screen, Birmingham Airport’s Aviation Director.
The expansion of the IAG LCC at Birmingham compliments the start of BA CityFlyer’s 16 x weekly service from Belfast City, which commenced on 31 October. “It is great to welcome back British Airways to Birmingham after three years absence,” adds Screen. Looking ahead to 2022, SunExpress is adding a three times weekly Antalya city pair next summer, while Jet2.com will increase its capacity at the airport by basing a 13th unit in Birmingham in S22.
Handling 13 million passengers in 2019, Birmingham is one of the West Midlands’ largest employers and has a catchment of 35m people living within two hours. “The airport sits at the centre of the country’s road and rail network making it one of the UK’s most accessible airports, with around 40 carriers serving around 400 direct or one-stop global destinations in 2019,” explains Screen. “We have something to offer all passenger types, with a mix of full-service, low-cost and charter airlines.”
Birmingham connects passengers on direct services to Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Caribbean, and is home to some of the world’s biggest airlines. In 2019, its top three routes were Dublin, Dubai and Amsterdam, with Dublin serving almost a million passengers during the year.
“Inbound traffic is equally as important as outbound,” says Screen. “The Greater Birmingham area saw a 53.4% visitor increase in the previous ten years, before COVID-19. It also boasts beautiful and historic tourist destinations on its doorstep, providing a plethora of choice for travellers wanting to experience the Midlands’ charm.”
Within 30 minutes’ drive of Birmingham is Warwickshire, where millions of tourists visit every year to discover William Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford upon Avon, and the historic Warwick Castle. The Peak District and its stunning scenery is easily accessible for those who want an outdoor adventure, and Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, along with Bicester Village just an hour away, offers unrivalled shopping experiences for the luxury or bargain hunter.
“As the airport recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to develop our strategy to become a net zero carbon airport by 2033, prioritising zero carbon airport operations and minimising carbon offsets,” confirms Screen. As well as prioritising its green credentials, Birmingham will also become the first UK airport to be served by the UK’s new high-speed trainline HS2, reducing the rail travel time from central London from the current 70 minutes to around 38 minutes on completion.