Published on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oxford to gain Scottish air link


A start-up regional airline plans to run flights between Oxford and Edinburgh.
Flights by Varsity Express will be operated by 18-seat Jetstream 31 aircraft.
Flights will run daily on weekdays from March 1.
Varsity will be promoting its services, special incentives and promotions on Facebook and Twitter ( ).
Promotional fares have gone on sale at £49 one way, including taxes and charges, through to March 12. 
Lead in fares will then be available starting at £49 and flexible fares from £149. 
The carrier is backed by a private consortium of investors in the UK and Spain whose interests centre around property development and the entertainment industry. 
The airline is described as being well funded with sufficient reserves to launch what will be the first of a number of planned domestic routes over the coming year.
Varsity Express has reached agreement with Copenhagen-based WorldTicket Sell-More-Seats as its e-ticket technology provider.
The aircraft will be operated under an ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, Insurance) wet lease arrangement with Humberside-based aviation company Linksair Ltd. 
The aircraft being leased previously flew with British Airways’ franchise operator Sun-Air, and has been refurbished, including a new paint scheme and interior cabin design with leather seating. 
Varsity will offer a business class style service, serving complimentary tea, coffee and water plus a small snack. There will be a range of other refreshments available to purchase on board, including soft and alcoholic drinks.
Commercial director Will Gilligan said:  “We have been looking to start a regular shuttle service on this sought after route for some time. 
“Oxford is the third most visited English city by international visitors (10 million per annum) and Edinburgh is the second most popular destination, after London, in the UK.
“We have watched with interest the developments and investment at Oxford Airport and believe it is a perfect, untapped market with plenty of potential, offering splendid facilities designed for private jet clients, enabling us to offer our passengers quick check-in times.  
“We anticipate carrying 6,500 passengers in our first year in a mix of 55% business, 45% travelling on leisure.  
“Our business travellers will mostly have interests in the hi-tech industries, research and academia. 
“Our fares should be especially attractive to university teachers and students.”
Tim Gill, an aviation consultant contracted to the airline, added: “Edinburgh is the most requested domestic route from Oxford, which by train can take over six hours with at least one change, sometimes three. 
“The cheapest off-peak return by rail  is £223, standard class £311 – any time. A first class return between Oxford and Edinburgh is £473. 
“Any day return combination – should one ever contemplate it - would typically take 13 hours in transit.”  
by Phil Davies

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  • Rail prices wildly exaggerated

    A useful story, but someone should have checked the claimed rail fares (I found £32 north, £56 south, £111 return for 3-day trip in Feb).

    By Eric Bodger, Friday, November 11, 2016

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