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Island has through-running air link to European Capital 24 May 2011

The Isle of Man now has an air service link to a major European hub. Flybe now offer a through-running service between the Isle of Man and Brussels, the capital of Europe. The flight, which operates every day, except Saturdays, brings the European capital to within 2 hours 45 min from the Island.

The schedule of the service provides an ideal departure time from the Island with the aircraft taking off at 09:40 and arriving at Brussels at 13:25 (local time). The return flight leaves Brussels at 13:55, and touches down at the Isle of Man at 16:05 (local time). The flight operates via Southampton, but passengers and their baggage are able to remain on the aircraft for the short stop before continuing to Brussels. On the return flight, passengers need to disembark for a brief immigration check at Southampton before continuing the flight to the Isle of Man. However, baggage is through-checked and remains on the aircraft for the entire flight.

Minister for Infrastructure, Phil Gawne, is delighted with the link from the Island into the heart of Europe. "We have, over the years, built up a comprehensive choice of UK destinations, together with our flights to Ireland. However, we have been seeking the opportunity of flying through to a European hub and I am delighted that Flybe has launched this service to Brussels," he said. "This link brings endless opportunities for travel, not only to Europe, but to worldwide destinations as Brussels has rapidly developed into a substantial European hub."

Brussels Airport has rapidly developed with a wide range of global and European destinations. This summer no less than 80 airlines will operate direct scheduled and charter passenger services to 214 destinations, a record network of destinations for Brussels Airport. Connections are available to 11 points in North America, 8 in the Middle East and no less than 26 destinations on the continent of Africa. These are in addition to a vast range of European destinations.

The link also opens up great possibilities for leisure travel in both directions. For Islanders, Brussels itself is an outstandingly beautiful city, offering a wealth of historic interest, magnificent buildings, such as the Royal Palace, as well as fine food, festivals and nightlife. In terms of the opportunities for inbound tourism for the Isle of Man, the Island has always attracted visitors from Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as northern Germany and France and now that a direct link providing good value, frequent flights is available, short break holidays from Belgium become a reality. Fares to Brussels start at £61.99 one-way, including taxes and charges.

Ann Reynolds, Airport Director shared the enthusiasm for the new route. "This link with the capital of Europe is a big step towards providing the European hub connectivity we have been striving for," she said. "With Brussels, we can begin to provide, firstly, a service for the businessman into the heart of Europe, and secondly with excellent transfer opportunities to the major business centres of Europe and the world." She also pointed out that an added bonus of the daily flights to Brussels is, in fact, that the service briefly stops at Southampton, providing the much needed daily connection with good timings to the south coast of England. "We feel sure that, with strong public support, particularly from residents and businesses on the Island, the combined attractiveness of both Southampton and Brussels as direct destinations will prove this route to be successful."

The route to Southampton again provides excellent timings the flights leaving the Isle of Man at 09:40 and arriving at Southampton at 10:50. The return flight departs at 14:50, arriving back on Island at 16:05. An additional Saturday flight will operate from 28 May (with slightly different timings) ensuring that the Southampton route operates seven days a week throughout the summer. Fares to Southampton start at just £41.99 one-way including taxes and charges.

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