New airline ready for service
By Jeff Green
Memorial is applauding the efforts of an English airline to create a year-round connection between this province and the United Kingdom.
Late last month, Astraeus Airlines announced it will fly from St. John’s to Gatwick, located near London, every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. That decision helps fill the void left behind by Air Canada. The national carrier announced last year it was only going to be offering spring and summer flights from this province to London. Many passengers from this province including students from Memorial as well as faculty and staff members were forced to fly to other Canadian airports before heading overseas. That will no longer be the case, though, when Astraeus launches its service in May.
“A year-round connection between London and St. John’s makes it much quicker and more convenient for faculty, staff, and students to travel to the Harlow campus and other U.K. destinations, as well as for connections to other parts of Europe and elsewhere,” said Dr. Michael Collins, associate vice-president (academic). “In promoting Memorial as a possible destination for students from the Middle East and Indian Sub-continent, for example, we advertise the ease of travelling here with direct flights from those regions to London and then connecting directly on to St. John’s.”
Astraeus has been offering flights from Gatwick to Deer Lake, on this province’s west coast, for the past three years.
Dr. Collins said the airline’s commitment to invest in this province will also provide passengers more choices and decrease their travel time.
“With a year-round service there will be no need to have to first fly to Halifax, Montreal or Toronto to connect with a U.K.-bound flight,” he said. “It also gives us another option during the summer since Air Canada’s summer service departs from St. John’s early in the afternoon arriving at Heathrow at 9:25 p.m. which is too late for connections elsewhere and too late in the day to do anything much other than go to a hotel. The Astraeus flight leaves St. John’s in the evening arriving early next morning in Gatwick.
“Now that Astraeus has decided to invest in this new air link to the U.K. we should try to promote its use and ensure that the service will be a permanent addition to our flight options.”