Flybe's heading to Heathrow as it unveils new Scottish flights from Aberdeen and Edinburgh to the London airport

Rebecca Smith
Flybe's Simon Laffin with Heathrow's John Holland-Kaye
Flybe's Simon Laffin with Heathrow's John Holland-Kaye

Here's a nice early Christmas present for fans of Flybe.

The airline has announced new regular flights from Aberdeen and Edinburgh to London Heathrow, which it says will be the first time it has served the largest London airport.

Starting from 26 March 2017, there'll be up to 18 flights a day between London and Edinburgh and 10 between the capital and Aberdeen, to complement the airline's London City flights from the Scottish airports.

Read more: Flybe announces new boss ex-CityJet chief Christine Ourmieres-Widener

It will take the slots which become available thanks to the requirement set by the European Commission, following the acquisition of BMI by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG).

Flybe won't have to pay to use the slots, other than meeting the airport's landing and passenger charges, and it said as the slots won't be bought by Flybe, won't be on the balance sheet.

The airline's executive chairman Simon Laffin said the development is "significantly enhancing our UK domestic route network" and said his firm has "long been lobbying" for the airport to offer more opportunities for domestic flights to boost regional connectivity.

In an interview with City A.M., former Flybe boss Saad Hammad said: “I have to say, Gatwick has not been progressive about regional connectivity. Heathrow have engaged in discussions with us, and I’ve got to give them credit for that.”

Read more: MP support for Heathrow expansion soars (says Heathrow poll)

Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said:

Improving the connections into Heathrow from all around the UK will be vital in helping to secure the economic future of communities in every corner of the nation.

With Flybe based at Terminal 2, it also means new, unique direct access from Heathrow to markets such Colombia, Taipei and Auckland – meaning more opportunity for Scottish businesses looking to reach new export markets.

It comes as Flybe also announced a new chief executive, following the departure of Hammad in October. Former CityJet boss Christine Ourmieres-Widener will take the reins in January, where she said a key focus will be helping the airline transition into "an increasingly customer-driven business".

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