Gibraltar is being added to Eastern Airways’ expanding routes, with services launching from Birmingham and Southampton in May.
The regional operator will initially fly twice weekly on Mondays and Fridays, bringing a first direct link between the British overseas territory and the South Coast where maritime, finance and tourism links are shared.
Birmingham sees a return after a four-year hiatus following the demise of Monarch.
Roger Hage, general manager at the Humberside Airport based airline, said: “This marks a major development in the network Eastern Airways offers as our first regular scheduled services to the Mediterranean peninsula adjoining Spain.
“The new services see both our return to Birmingham Airport as an operator while extending the growing number of destinations served from our Southampton hub. With a quality array of hotels, beaches, watersports and heritage, this UK territory offers an exciting short-break destination aside from its role in UK business, notably financial services and maritime.
“With easy access to the south coast of Spain also a benefit, working together with HM Government of Gibraltar has enabled this to be the first service to be announced, supporting UK regional airports and their role in direct UK and European connectivity.”
The services will be operated using the airline’s Embraer 190 e-Jet fleet, and marks a debut in Southampton for it.
Fares start from £74.99 one-way.
Gibraltar’s Minister for Business, Tourism, Transport and the Port, Vijay Daryanani, said: “The links with both Birmingham and Southampton will open up new catchment areas for Gibraltar.
“Work to ensure that the tourism sector recovers and flourishes after this pandemic does not stop. The news will no doubt be welcomed by the local business community and the tourism, retail and hospitality industries. This Government is delivering air services to Gibraltar in an unprecedented manner and is committed to adding further routes and more carriers in due course.”
Last week saw Eastern launch two French routes from Hampshire.
Steve Szalay, operations director at Southampton Airport, said: “The introduction of Eastern Airways’ first-ever service to Gibraltar is tremendous news and demonstrates the airline’s continued desire to grow its operations at Southampton Airport.
“This is also a new destination for the airport and a positive step forward given the challenging conditions our entire industry continues to face.
“We look forward to working with Eastern to develop this service further and welcoming the first passengers later this year and indeed the basing of an Eastern Airways’ Embraer 190 aircraft to make this route and others possible.”
Tom Screen, aviation director at Birmingham Airport added: “It is great news that Eastern Airways are back at Birmingham offering customers the chance to fly direct to Gibraltar again, this route has been unserved from Birmingham since 2017.
“Gibraltar is a popular destination to our leisure customers, for a sunny getaway, but also an important business route providing access to this British territory. We believe this route will be a sign of things to come as they develop their network further.