Direct flights between Aberdeen and the Norwegian capital Oslo took off on Monday 28 October operated by the UK’s most punctual airline, bmi regional.
The new scheduled service sees bmi regional provide more direct international connections from Aberdeen International Airport than any other carrier.
The new route is the latest in a series of positive moves by the Aberdeen-based airline in the Scottish and Norwegian markets. Demand from the oil and gas industry and dialogue with key companies have been fundamental to the decision to launch the service, while leisure travellers will be able to take advantage of direct access between two city destinations.
bmi regional launched direct flights between Aberdeen and Kristiansund in Norway at the end of August and will operate direct flights between Stavanger and Harstad/Evenes and Tromso in the far north of Norway from January 2014 – becoming the first non-Scandinavian airline to launch scheduled domestic flights in Norway and directly linking the country’s two fastest growing regions for the first time.
Award-winning bmi regional – which operates 450 flights a week to 22 destinations across the UK and Europe – also operates flights from Aberdeen to Bristol, Manchester, Norwich and Esbjerg in Denmark. Earlier this month bmi regional received the prestigious Silver Airline of the Year award at the annual European Regions Airline Association (ERAA) conference in Austria. The accolade came just 18 months after the airline was established as an independent carrier.
Cathal O’Connell, chief executive of bmi regional said: “Aberdeen and Oslo are strategic hubs for the oil and gas industry and our new service will offer significant time and efficiency savings for businesses in the North-east of Scotland and Norway.
“We are committed to working with industry to develop connectivity that supports business growth out of Aberdeen, in terms of both scheduled operations and our charter offering. We successfully launched Aberdeen to Kristiansund in August and we will commence domestic flights in Norway in 2014.
“The support and engagement we have received from the oil and gas industry on both sides of the North Sea remains fundamental to our decision to develop a long term, strategic presence in these markets,” said Mr O’Connell.
Business and civic leaders welcomed the introduction of a direct air connection to Oslo.
Carol Benzie, managing director of Aberdeen International Airport, said: “Aberdeen International Airport is well connected into the Scandinavian market and this launch really cements that position. It also comes at an exciting time of growth for bmi regional. We are confident that business and leisure passengers at each end of this important connection will benefit from the service.”
Aberdeen City Council leader Barney Crockett warmly welcomed the launch of the new Oslo – Aberdeen air service. He said: “Aberdeen is continuing to attract strong international investment and interest and is becoming an increasingly important centre for Norwegian businesses. bmi has clearly recognised that and the need for air links between Aberdeen and Norwegian cities.
“We already have air links to Kristiansund and Stavanger. The addition of the Oslo service is very welcome and will undoubtedly prove to be very popular. The provision of new air services linking our city to Norwegian hubs will improve business and tourism opportunities.
“We are delighted that Aberdeen is seen as an ideal long and short stay location by many Norwegians who come here to enjoy the nightlife, the shopping and cultural experiences and our beautiful scenery. This new service will undoubtedly help to boost leisure as well as business tourism and is to be warmly welcomed,” he said.
Ian Armstrong, Regional Director at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) said: “SCDI warmly welcomes the establishment of this new direct route between the capital of Norway and Europe’s energy capital, Aberdeen. As well as a further direct link into Norway, which is a key trading partner for the North-east, it will also give greater access to Norwegian Government institutions and decision makers as well as creating both in and outbound leisure opportunities.”
The Oslo service operates as a single daily flight Sunday to Friday with a 37-seat Embraer 135 jet aircraft. Flights depart Aberdeen at 1605, arriving in Oslo at 1845 and depart Oslo at 1915, arriving in Aberdeen at 2000 (all times local).
Photo caption: Cathal O’Connell, chief executive of bmi regional, and Carol Benzie, managing director of Aberdeen International Airport, mark the launch of bmi regional’s new Oslo service.