This surprising regional airport is getting more international routes despite the pandemic

Jan 26, 2021

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The south coast city of Southampton is getting more connections to international destinations. Beginning this spring, Southampton Airport will be reconnected to two former French destinations.

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The announcement was made on Tuesday via the airport’s Twitter.

Eastern Airways will start the nonstop flights from Southampton (SOU) to Nantes (NTE) and Rennes (RNS) this spring. The inaugural flight to Rennes will launch on Thursday 29 April and to Nantes the following day, Friday 30 April. The flights are on sale now.

Both routes will operate with three weekly frequencies by one of the airline’s 72-seat ATR 42-600 aircraft. You can expect the Nantes route to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, whereas the Rennes flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

The new routes for Eastern aren’t entirely new to Southampton, as they were part of Flybe’s route network before the airline folded in March 2020 as an early casualty of COVID-19. Southampton Airport was hit hard by the airline’s collapse, which operated 80% of the airport’s routes.

In addition to Eastern Airways’ new routes, British Airways announced in December 2020 that it plans to launch a total of 11 new routes from Southampton later in 2021. The new BA routes will also replace those that used to be operated by Flybe.

Southampton, while it may seem farther away for Londoners, could be a promising addition to Eastern’s network. According to SOU’s website, you can get a train from London Waterloo station to the airport in 69 minutes with South Western Railway.

“Given Southampton’s prominence in connecting the U.K. and France, while also being within an hour of London by rail directly outside the terminal door, it is an exciting development for all,” General Manager for Eastern Roger Hage said in a statement. “With additional new destinations to follow in the coming days and weeks, Eastern Airways is committed to supporting the regions of the U.K., connecting people and places, so adding further services at hubs we already serve is another crucial part in the economic recovery and prosperity of the South-Coast hub.”

Featured image by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy

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