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Southampton Airport and VLM Airlines launch daily service to Antwerp and Hamburg

Dave Lees, Alix De Weerdt, Arthur White and Mayor of Southampton Cake
Southampton Airport and Belgian operator VLM Airlines launched a daily scheduled flight, each weekday, between Southampton (England), Antwerp (Belgium) and Hamburg (Germany) yesterday. The occasion was marked with a water arch entrance for the inaugural arriving flight and the first passengers were greeted by The Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Sue Blatchford.

Passengers and VIPs were treated to a diamond-themed reception to celebrate Antwerp’s title as the diamond capital of the world, including the chance to win a diamond, flown in especially from Antwerp. Entertainment for the reception was provided by local acoustic duo, Lauren & Ollie.

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.

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: “Not only does this new route suit many businesses in the area and locals wanting to visit these two beautiful cities, the new flights are perfect for those in Germany and Belgium starting cruises from Southampton, which is the cruise capital for northern Europe.”

Arthur White, CEO of VLM Airlines, added: “Southampton is a great destination for travellers involved in the maritime industry. Additionally the leisure and tourism opportunities make this a really good fit for our network of linking the major ports of Europe.”

Business leaders have warmly welcomed the addition to Southampton Airport’s offering. Sally Thompson, CEO of Business South, said: "This new route to Antwerp is great news for our region. Research we carried out established a number of key employers in the composites field are already regularly travelling to Antwerp on business so this new service will add convenience for them. Business South is proud to have been able use its business connections to support the sterling work Southampton Airport has done to secure this new route."

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