When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Airline’s hopes high as it launches new Oxford links
AIRLINE bosses are celebrating after seeing their first flight from Oxford Airport take to the skies.
Greek operator Minoan Air has become the first established commercial airline to be based at Oxford in the airport’s near 80-year history, with passengers boarding the 7.30am flight to Edinburgh on Monday morning.
A further flight to Dublin will launch today with bosses anticipating strong demand from businesses, academics and tourists.
Minoan Air chief commercial officer Marcos Caramalengos said: “We wanted to identify profitable routes and identified six airports with a good potential catchment area and Oxford came top of the list.
“It serves an area that has a lot of demand, particularly for routes to Dublin and Edinburgh.”
Mr Caramalengos added that he expected 45 per cent of passengers on the flights to be using them for business and the rest for general use, which he said was an ideal mix.
“I believe we will also have a high volume of passengers using us instead of going to other major airports.
“We are on the doorstep, there are no queues to check in and you can park cheaply at the airport. It is an extremely good alternative for the traveller.”
Minoan chiefs expect to expand the number of destinations flying out of Oxford by next year and are considering Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
Up to 40 staff are being recruited locally, including about 10 air stewards to be based at Oxford along with ground crew and pilots.
The routes will be flown by Minoan Air’s 50-seat Fokker 50 aircraft.
The launch of the service, which will take 90 minutes to Edinburgh, was particularly poignant for pilot Miltiadis Tsagaraky who was returning to Oxford for the first time since completing his training at the airport in 1975.
Mr Tsagaraky, who went on to become general manager of Olympic Airways before becoming a flight trainer himself, said: “The training in Oxford was excellent and this is a good opportunity for Minoan.”
Airport head of route development Tony Farmer said: “Edinburgh and Dublin are the top five routes in the airline industry in near Europe, so there is plenty of potential.”
Flights to Edinburgh will run twice a day on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and to Dublin on Wednesdays and Fridays, with a single flight on Sunday from this week. Frequency on both routes will increase from May 10 to twice daily (Monday to Friday) and once on Sundays.
Introductory fares of £51 one way are still available, depending on demand, rising to £201.