A north-east MSP has added his voice to calls for easyJet to reinstate flights between Aberdeen and London Gatwick – as a petition urging the same nears 5,000 signatures.
Liam Kerr has joined the list of those calling for the budget airline to once again link the north-east to the UK’s second busiest airport.
EasyJet axed the route a year ago, blaming the decision on reduced demand, but within days hundreds of people disadvantaged by the move were calling for the service to resume.
Now, more than 4,500 have signed in support of the petition, started by Newtonhill woman Rachel May and Val Fry of Fetterangus.
Bosses at Aberdeen International Airport have said they are also working to achieve that goal.
Having publicly voiced his own support, Mr Kerr has now written to the easyJet, urging the firm to reconsider a move he claims has left many north-east passengers with only “expensive and time consuming” alternatives.
The Conservative MSP said: “Removal of this vital connection has left many Aberdonians feeling frustrated, let down and marginalised.
“Businesses, including those in the oil industry, have been presented with unnecessary obstacles while seeking to strengthen important links with London and the south.
“In an era of personal mobility and expanding air travel, removal of this vital link has been a detrimental step backwards for the city of Aberdeen and the communities who are served by Aberdeen airport.
“I would urge easyJet to urgently review their original decision giving a clear indication when this route will be restored.”
In response, a spokesman for the budget airline said: “easyJet already operates a minimum of four flights a week (increasing to daily flights from March) between Aberdeen and London Luton – a route we’ve increased capacity on by 17% for this year.
“We reviewed the London Gatwick route and decided to cease operating it because a reduction in demand made it unviable.
“We concentrate our efforts on maintaining and developing routes which prove most popular with passengers.”
Aberdeen International Airport managing director Steve Szalay said they “fully supported” the petition and that his team was working closely with the airline to “win back” a “much-loved” route.
He admitted space at Gatwick was sought after but said discussions were ongoing.