VLM Airlines joins the airport at a time of growth, with Southampton Airport reporting passenger numbers as 21% up in February 2015 versus 2014.
Flights between Southampton and Hamburg will be linked via a stopover in Antwerp. The Belgian city is home to the second largest port in Europe and is known as a ‘petrochemical hub’, with several multinational companies investing more into their sites there. The city also appeals to tourists, with its reputation as the diamond capital of the world. Travellers can also benefit from the city’s excellent public transportation systems and can journey to the centre of Brussels in less than an hour.
Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, is another of Europe’s busiest international ports, with a 2014 throughput of 145.7 million tonnes. Appealing to both business and leisure travellers, Hamburg is a major industrial and media centre, with local employers including Airbus, Blohm + Voss and Der Spiegel.
Dave Lees, Managing Director of Southampton Airport, said: “We are delighted to welcome VLM and the new route to Antwerp and Hamburg. We’re continuously working to expand the airport's route network to give our loyal passengers a great choice of destinations, and Antwerp and Hamburg make perfect additions to our programme. This will link three major ports in Northern Europe and will be attractive to the marine and energy industry in this region, as well as leisure passengers.”
Arthur White, CEO of VLM Airlines, added: “The addition of the new Southampton-Antwerp-Hamburg route is in response to demand from the local communities. All three destinations are respected international seaport cities as well as popular tourist hotspots so we’re very confident the route will prove successful. Southampton becomes the fourth international port city to be served by VLM, alongside Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp.”
VLM Airlines now offers scheduled services to 12 destinations in seven countries, including Liège, Avignon, Nice, Venice, Bologna, Geneva, Waterford and London Luton.
Business leaders have warmly welcomed the addition to Southampton Airport’s offering. Stewart Dunn, Chief Executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The new route will act as a key access to European markets for business providing valuable connections to Antwerp, Hamburg and the Port of Rotterdam, with links to key sectors of the marine and petrochemical industries.”