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Why your tax money is funding 11 obscure new UK flights (but five will earn Avios!)

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Back in the Autumn statement, the Government announced a £7m plan to fund 11 new regional air routes that will start during 2016

The Regional Air Connectivity Fund – which, you would think, is the sort of thing which would have been scrapped rather than created during a period of spending cuts – is blowing investing taxpayers money in 11 new air routes.

In my experience, airlines are not short of a willingness to give new routes a try using their own money.  After all, as long as they have the aircraft, the fixed costs involved in starting a route are not huge.

Regional Air Connectivity Fund

These are the 11 routes which you will be financing for the first three years of their life:

Dundee to Amsterdam (Flybe)  (think of all those stag weekends you are funding for the good people of Dundee)

Derry to Dublin (Citywings)

Carlisle to Belfast (Stobart Air)

Carlisle to Dublin (Stobart Air)

Carlisle to Southend (Stobart Air)

Norwich to Exeter (Flybe)

Norwich to Newcastle (Linksair)

Oxford to Edinburgh (Linksair)

Southampton Southend to Lyon (Flybe, rationale being ….?!)

Southampton Southend to Munich (Flybe, ditto)

Newquay to Leeds-Bradford (Flybe)

Oxford to Edinburgh, two incredibly poor cities, will obviously benefit hugely from this subsidised connection.  In terms of pure genius, however, Carlisle to Southend must be the winner:

Who is flying the route?  Stobart Air

Who owns Southend Airport?  Stobart Air

Who owns Carlisle Airport?  Stobart Air

Triples all round, as Private Eye would say. You can further details on the website.

The vague relevance of this to HFP is, of course, that you will be able to earn and spend Avios points on Southampton to Lyon, Southampton to Munich, Norwich to Exeter, Dundee to Amsterdam and Newquay to Leeds-Bradford due to the tie-up between Avios and Flybe!

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. Tilly71 says:

    Any ideas why avios charge apd from newquay and ba avios do not?

    • They are exempt by law but that doesn’t always mean the airlin IT keeps up!

      • Tilly71 says:

        So if I call up ba avios they will quote taxes with that leg of apd? When i contacted avios on live chat they said they had to charge apd.

        • I know a reader who had to threaten to take to court before they agreed to remove the tax on a one-way ex HK flight which under HK law should have been free of fuel surcharges.

          Note, though, that I am not sure that connecting flights from a Newquay flight should be APD free even though the website prices that. Same with ex Inverness tickets. Pretty sure the Government did not plan for you to fly Newquay Gatwick Barbados and save £150 APD, as opposed to just saving £10 on the domestic leg.

          • Tilly71 says:

            So contacted avios live chat again, different story today since a few months ago. They confirmed the online system cannot remove the apd on that leg so recommended booking then calling up and they will refund the apd.
            Is it just apd on that leg or does it have any reducing impact apd on the next leg GAT – BGI?

          • When this first started, it wiped out the APD on the entire flight.

          • Tilly71 says:

            It’s £55 apd on the Newq – Gat leg return.

  2. I’m a Norwich resident, and NWI-EXT used to operate by Flybe before they dropped it (no demand…) And whilst NCL would be nice, it’s far from useful, especially as you could use KL via AMS if the train is too long.

  3. OT: Changes @IHG’s Rewards Nights. Many hotels going up in points. Up to 60,000!

    List here.

  4. James67 says:

    OT: IHG increases IC redemptions as Rob has been predicting but not as high as I expected, max 60k/night.

    • Yes, tempted to agree. Full story tomorrow but you can see the list here.

      Plenty of other 5k rises, however, which make some properties look expensive at off peak times.

      • What a surprise it’s the Brazilian hotels which have dropped given the current situation. Putting 10K on all the IC’s you’d ever want to go to will put people off weekend jaunts to Europe but I guess increases the Barclaycard certificate value in the face of the ability to do the “trick” at 0.4p per point.

        • It is 13 out of 5,000 hotels which are 60,000 points. The snag is that I reckon 20%+ of my IHG stays have been in those 13 hotels!

      • James67 says:

        Just been through them, makes an interesting read and I look forward to your thoughts tomorrow. London takes a big hit again but interestingly no movement on HI Wembley.
        I expected ICs in key cities to hit 60 and 75k so I was pleasantly surprised. The nonsensical disparity between ICs and many HIEs and HIs that you often highlight still remains!

  5. Tilly71 says:

    Slightly OT again (sorry), with the amex platinum upgrade offer for existing gold rewards card holders sent out recently, do you just press accept upgrade link and it processes your upgrade or do you need to go through a new application form again?

  6. Im surprised there was no mention of a BHX-LON connection…i’m not sure how anyone exists right now without this more than essential link..

  7. When does Oxford to Edinburgh start? Will it still be cheaper to drive to LHR from my home in Oxford?

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