Flybe launches Cardiff-London ‘rescue’ flights

Flybe has stepped in to operate temporary services between London and Cardiff during a six-week closure of the Severn rail tunnel.

The regional airline is running three return flights a day on weekdays and two a day on weekends between the Welsh capital and London City airport, with one-way fares starting at £34.99.

Saad Hammad, Flybe chief executive, said: “When the significance of the Severn Tunnel closure became apparent…we committed to ensuring that Welsh travellers had another viable option.

“We hope these rescue flights will help alleviate the travel woes of the thousands of passengers displaced by the loss of the region’s direct rail services. We look forward to welcoming all new passengers on board.”

Matthew Hall, London City airport commercial director, said: “The Cardiff service will provide business and leisure travellers with a much-needed air link during the rail disruption, bolstering the regional routes which Flybe already offers from London City airport, and ensuring it is business as usual for the professionals that rely on Cardiff-London connectivity.

“The airport’s close proximity to central London means that customers will spend less time travelling and more time for the purpose of their trip – whether it’s a business meeting or catching up with family and friends.”

Debra Barber, managing director and chief operating officer at Cardiff Airport, said: “We hope to see this new route fully embraced by our customers so that it becomes a permanent part of Flybe’s ever-growing network of routes from Cardiff in the future.”

Scott Waddington, chairman of Cardiff Business Club, told the BBC there was hope the air link would prove viable to continue beyond October.

“Time is money and the potential time savings to businesses at both ends of the M4 is a significant incentive to use the new service,” he added.

The tunnel is being closed for rail electrification works. Great Western Railway (GWR) mainline rail services will be diverted via Gloucester between Newport and Swindon, adding about 30 minutes to journey times.

For some services, passengers will need replacement buses, which the company said will add up to 45 minutes to journeys.