Brighton City Airways suspends Paris flights and blames French red tape

Posted On 02 May 2013 at 1:06 pm

Brighton City Airways is to suspend flights between Shoreham and Paris from next week, blaming problems with the French customs and immigration services.

Flights will continue until and including the bank holiday on Monday (6 May) and will be temporarily suspended from Tuesday (7 May).

The airline, which started flying the route in March, said that everyone who had booked later flights would receive a refund.

Jonathan Candelon, one of the airline’s founders, said: “Just two weeks before we launched the airline in March, we were advised by the French authorities that there would be a short delay of a couple of weeks before a customs and immigration port of entry was in place at Paris Pontoise.

“Eight weeks later this intolerable issue remains in place and with no firm date set for a resolution.

“In the meantime we have been obliged to land in another French airport – usually Rouen or Le Touquet – en route to Pontoise and the authorities have very rarely come aboard to check passports.

Brighton City Airways founders Jonathan Candelon and Neil Laughton

Brighton City Airways founders Jonathan Candelon and Neil Laughton

“This has meant having two take offs and climbs instead of one, longer flight times, extra airport fees and extra maintenance costs, all of which add up to a single flight to Paris costing us 60 per cent more than a direct flight would cost, never mind the inconvenience for passengers.

“We are truly sad to suspend the flights, not least because our ticket sales are over target and the demand for this airline is proven to be there.

“But we are forced to postpone flights until the issue is solved at Paris Pontoise.

“Brighton City Airways will operate the return flights to Paris until May 6 to allow passengers to return from their bank holiday breaks in Paris but will suspend the service after the return flight to Shoreham lands on Monday evening.

“We want to thank everyone for the tremendous support they have given us – Brighton (Shoreham) Airport, Van Air Europe, Aéroports de Paris, Handling Partners, KA Exec Handling and our enthusiastic passengers.

“We will of course be giving a full refund to passengers expecting to fly from May 7 onwards and we want to apologise to them for the inconvenience.

“It is a huge disappointment for all of us.”

Ric Belfield, the general manager of Brighton (Shoreham) Airport, said: “Brighton Shoreham Airport are deeply disappointed that the French Customs issues at Paris Pontoise show no signs of being resolved and as a result Brighton City Airways have reluctantly had to take the difficult decision to suspend the operation until the matter is resolved.

“There are many people who have worked hard and made considerable investment both in time and money to bring the scheduled service into being.

“It is very hard to come to terms with the fact that the route which has proved extremely popular with customers should be frustrated by matters outside Brighton City Airways control.

“Brighton Shoreham Airport look forward to the French Customs issue being resolved and the resumption of this valuable service.”

The Aéroports de Paris Group said that it regretted the decision and was working on a solution “as soon as possible in order to maintain the promising scheduled services between Pontoise and Brighton”.

 

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