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Oxford: Airport opens new route to Newcastle

By Dan Teuton
12 February 2010

Europe’s newest regional operator, Varsity Express ( will offer a second week-daily service to Edinburgh from London Oxford Airport from April 5 in response to demand, one month after its scheduled debut on March 1, the company has announced.

It will also add a second destination from Oxford to Newcastle, gateway to the north east. Flights will initially run every afternoon from Monday to Friday, with introductory fares from £49 one way, including taxes and charges.

All Varsity flights will be operated by BAE Jetstream 31 aircraft and the company is close to finalising the use of a second aircraft. Both will be based at London Oxford Airport, where Varsity is taking office space.

Promotion of the Oxford-Edinburgh route started last month and forward bookings have exceeded expectations. In the first two weeks, where every seat is available at £49 one way, bookings have been especially high north to south. For the Oxfordshire region Varsity has enlisted the support of Great Experience Travel. The Witney-based company is assisting with marketing and promotion of the route, in conjunction with hotel and golf packages.

“We are delighted to be announcing a second UK route today,” said Varsity Express director Martin Halstead. “Newcastle is a popular University city and we expect a good mix of business travellers, many from the automotive industry and VFR and leisure traffic.” Newcastle is also renowned for its music and arts centres, shopping and exciting night life. As such the city is a popular short break destination in the UK.

Onboard Varsity will offer a business class style service, with all-leather seating, serving complimentary tea, coffee and water, plus a small snack. There will be a range of other onboard refreshments available to purchase on board, including soft and alcoholic drinks, all served by an inflight attendant. The aircraft is on the AOC of Humberside-based LinksAir. Flying crew will be provided by Varsity.

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