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Caithness.org News Bulletins -  November 2002

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New Flight Brings Flavour of the Highlands to Manchester

A true taste of the Scottish Highlands was delivered to the heart of Manchester Monday 4 November when Eastern Airways launched its new direct route from Inverness.

A fresh salmon winged its way south on the inaugural flight from Inverness for a special meal at the award-winning Le Mont restaurant – Manchester’s first elevated restaurant located at the pinnacle of the city’s Urbis building.

Award-winning chef, Charles Lockley, Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber MP, David Stewart,
and ‘highlander’ Gordon MacIntyre.

Chef Charles Lockley, from the award-winning Boath House Hotel near Auldearn in Inverness-shire, and his fresh salmon were escorted on the 6.20am flight out of Inverness by ‘Highlander’ Gordon MacIntyre, dressed in the full regalia of a Scottish clansman from a bygone era.

On arriving in Manchester, the party was met by representatives of Eastern Airways, including managing director Richard Lake, and Manchester Airport before they travelled to Le Mont in Cathedral Gardens where Charles Lockley prepared a ballantine of salmon for the celebratory lunch.

Mr Lockley said: “The Scottish Highlands are famed for their high quality fresh produce and it’s an honour to be bringing a real taste of Scotland to Manchester today to mark the launch of Eastern Airways’ direct flights to Inverness. It’s also appropriate that Le Mont is the venue for the lunch as this highly regarded restaurant is at the forefront of promoting locally-sourced ingredients from its own region. We hope that we will be welcoming many new customers at Boath House Hotel as a result of the new flights and that many of our customers will sample the cuisine on offer at Le Mont when they travel south. The new flights offer a host of business and tourism opportunities to both regional capitals.”

Eastern Airways, the independent regional airline based at Humberside International Airport, will operate three services a day between Manchester and Inverness and has also launched a three times a day service between Dundee and Manchester. Both routes include onward travel opportunities with bmi through a code share agreement.

Flights will operate Monday to Friday with BAE Jetstream 32 aircraft. With aircraft over-nighting in both Inverness and Dundee, the early morning departures offer Scottish-based travellers some good onward connections from Manchester. The timings connect, for example, with departures to Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Gothenberg, as well as US cities, Chicago, New York and Washington DC. Travellers from Manchester enjoy direct access to the gateway of the Highlands with onward travel opportunities to some of Scotland’s most stunning and remote locations.

Eastern, which operates from Manchester Airport’s Terminal 3, also serves Manchester-Norwich, three times daily, Monday to Friday. The new Inverness and Dundee services complement a growing Scottish network operated by the niche domestic airline. In Scotland, Eastern Airways also operates Edinburgh to Norwich and Humberside and from Aberdeen to East Midlands, Humberside, Norwich, Teesside and Wick.

“It has long been our wish to start these services from Inverness and Dundee to Manchester, the UK’s third largest airport. We are also proud to be expanding the number of regional destinations offered by air from the British Isles,” said Richard Lake, managing director of Eastern Airways.

Commenting on the new service, Bob Macleod, managing director of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) said: “The launch of the Eastern Airways service from Inverness to Manchester provides an extremely important transport link for Inverness and the Highlands of Scotland. I believe that bookings are already very encouraging on the route and I am sure that it will prove to be popular with both the general travelling public and business users - with obvious benefits for tourism and the economy as a whole in the Highlands. Both HIAL and Inverness & Nairn Enterprise are supporting a marketing campaign to ensure maximum use of this service from Inverness and Manchester for the benefit of both regions.”

Inverness & Nairn Enterprise has provided £86,000 start up support for the service. Acting chief executive, Stuart Black said this was part of an ongoing strategy to increase flights between Inverness and other parts of the UK. He added: “We very much welcome the start of this important service, which improves global accessibility for the Highlands. It will provide a vital link for business travel to and from the Highlands, for inbound tourism travel, and for Highland residents to make world-wide links at Manchester’s international hub airport.”

Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber MP, David Stewart, who was on the first flight from Inverness to Manchester and who attended the lunch at Le Mont, said the venture opened up an exciting new set of air connections for travellers and businesses in the Highlands, as well as providing a tourism boost for the north.

"It is extremely pleasing to see another development coming to Inverness, bringing visitors from the rest of the UK and from throughout the world," he said.

"And, what a great opportunity for those who live in the Highlands, to jump on a flight to Manchester for a break or package holiday, or to connect to US cities such as Chicago, Washington DC or New York and even many European destinations. More choice must be good news for Highland air travellers and for the economy.”

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited

Highlands and Islands Airports operates 10 airports in the North and West of Scotland – Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick.

In the year ending 31st March 2002, these airports handled more than 832,000 passengers, 6,755 tonnes of freight and almost 75,000 individual aircraft movements.

 Eastern Airways
Timetable for the new Eastern Airways services, operated Monday to Friday, are as follows:

         Manchester                Inverness                    Inverness        Manchester

Departures                   Arrivals                        Departures       Arrivals

0840                            1015                            0620                0755

1355                            1530                            1145                1320

1825                            2000                            1620                1755

         Manchester                Dundee                       Dundee           Manchester

Departures                   Arrivals                        Departures       Arrivals

0810                            0920                            0630                0740

1610                            1720                            1430                1540

1940                            2050                            1755                1905

In its new winter timetable, Eastern Airways will offer over 360 flights each week with its fleet of Jetstream 31, 32, 41 and Embraer 135 aircraft.  For more information visit your travel agent, contact 01625 680600 or book online at www.easternairways.com