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Virgin ups capacity to the Sunshine State

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Darwin to fly from Cambridge to Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan and Paris

News Monday, 20 May 2013 12:01 Written by 

Geneva-based Darwin Airline is to launch new scheduled European flights from the UK’s regional Cambridge Airport from September 2. 

Flights to Amsterdam, Paris CDG, Milan Malpensa and Geneva will be timed to connect with Darwin’s SkyTeam partners Alitalia and Air France-KLM under a codeshare with Alitalia.

 

Darwin aims to fly 24 weekly flights to Amsterdam, 12 to Paris CDG, 8 to Milan, and 6 to Geneva by Saab 2000s.

 

Cambridge Airport opened a new terminal last week and is due to tender this summer to build a new runway that can handle planes up to a B767.

 

Darwin, which is also adding Liepzig to its network from September, describes itself as "a Swiss multi-alliance regional airline serving niche markets with a dedication to customised and superior services".

 

The carrier has recently expanded its fleet of Saab 2000s with an eight aircraft and is targeting France, Germany and the UK as it expands beyond Italy and Switzerland, CEO Christian Schneider told Routes News.

 

"We in Darwin Airline strongly believe in the idea of creating a regional airline alliance among the numerous European regional carriers," he said.

 

David Surley, Cambridge Airport’s head of business development, told Routes News that the gateway is ripe for new destinations.

 

"Cambridge is the fastest-growing city in the country," he said. "It’s a no-brainer that it’s going to start to come up on corporate travel horizons."

 

Despite an economic boom fuelled by its high-tech firms, Cambridge lacks appropriate interline connectivity with Europe and global networks, he added.

 

"Most people don’t know that Cambridge is in the top ten for highest volume business-related visits to the UK for markets like France, Germany, the Netherlands, the States and Sweden."

 

Cambridge is now seeking partnerships with hub-and-spoke feeder carriers to European destinations with long-haul connectivity, he said.

 

"We won’t handle long-haul but we can deliver our customers to long-haul," he said.

 

"For us, the ideal aircraft types are your ATRs, Q400s, regional jets. We currently only have capacity for one A320. Although we are improving and developing our facilities, we’re not planning to do so so that we could have flocks and flocks of B737s and A320s."

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