Ambitious plans have been unveiled by a Shoreham Airport based company to offer daily flights to Paris.
Jonathan Candelon, of Flying Time Aviation, who is launching the venture with entrepreneur Neil Laughton, has projected Brighton City Airways could generate a turnover of more than a million pounds within its first year.
The firm’s service is aimed at a mix of both leisure and executive business customers – which will prompt the site’s rename to Brighton (Shoreham) airport. It is hoped the move will attract a greater volume of custom between the UK and the continent.
While previous attempts to operate European flights from Shoreham have met with mixed results, but Mr Candelon, an experienced West Sussex-based pilot, said he felt “100 per cent confident” in the success of the new service. It will operate twice daily, flying to Pontoise Airport, from next March.
The company is using a 19-seater Let 410 commuter aircraft, pitching its prices from £69 one way to Paris, which it believed offered a competitive means of reaching the French capital within two hours.
Mr Candelon said: “This is a big deal for us and one of the most significant things I’ve done in my life.
“We just felt that the time was right to do this and are aiming for around 70 per cent of our customers taking leisure flights and around 30 per cent travelling for business.
“With it being a 19 seater plane there will be no long queues. It’s possible to travel anywhere within 149 nautical miles, so Manchester is another potential route, as is Jersey.”
Both leader of Adur District Council, Neil Park and, Worthing Borough Council leader Paul Yallop felt the airline would offer the area a tangible economic boost, especially if it is expanded beyond the initial French route.
Tina Tilley highlighted the fact the region’s Coast to Capital business support organisation is striving to identify greater opportunities for trade with Europe. She believed creating the Paris would prove a valuable stepping stone in assisting with achieving its goal.
She said: “One of the most feasible areas for business growth is to find new trade areas and links to Europe. The new flight route can only enhance the possibilities of future international trade for everyone within our area, for small and larger businesses alike.”
Airport manager Ric Belfield added: “This is absolutely what we want to see at the airport, scheduled international travel bringing lots of people through our historic airport, which was the first licensed airfield in Britain. This has prompted us to rename the airport Brighton (Shoreham) Airport, to link it properly to our neighbouring city.”
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham added:“I am delighted to see cross channel flights returning to Shoreham again.
“Shoreham Airport has a lot to offer as a base for short hop trips to the Continent with a large market of travellers on its doorstep who otherwise have to spend more time travelling to and through the London airports than in the air.
“I wish the new operators well and hope this is the start of big things to come.”