Southampton Airport and Belgian operator VLM Airlines will be launching daily scheduled flights each weekday between Southampton, Antwerp and Hamburg from April 23.
VLM Airlines joins the airport at a time of growth, with Southampton Airport reporting passenger numbers up by 21% in February 2015 compared with the same time last year.
Flights between Southampton and Hamburg will be linked via a stopover in Antwerp, home to the second-largest port in Europe and known as a ‘petrochemical hub’, with several multinational companies currently investing more into their sites there.
Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, is another of Europe’s busiest international ports, with a 2014 throughput of 145.7 million tonnes. Appealing to both business and leisure travellers, Hamburg is a major industrial and media centre, with local employers including Airbus, Blohm + Voss and Der Spiegel.
Dave Lees, managing director of Southampton Airport, said: “We are delighted to welcome VLM and the new route to Antwerp and Hamburg. We’re continuously working to expand the airport's route network to give our loyal passengers a great choice of destinations, and Antwerp and Hamburg make perfect additions to our programme. This will link three major ports in Northern Europe and will be attractive to the marine and energy industry in this region, as well as leisure passengers.”
Business leaders have warmly welcomed the addition to Southampton Airport’s offering. Stewart Dunn, chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The new route will act as a key access to European markets for business providing valuable connections to Antwerp, Hamburg and the Port of Rotterdam, with links to key sectors of the marine and petrochemical industries.”