The new KLM route will run to and from Manston twice a day seven days a week with up to 80 passengers. The route will allow local travellers access to more 190 destinations worldwide via Schiphol with KLM.
To mark the launch, KLM and Manston Airport hosted local media and invited guests, including representatives of the local travel trade, local chambers of commerce and Thanet and Kent Local Authorities. Along with passengers they witnessed the traditional aircraft ‘baptism’ performed by the Airport Fire and Rescue Service, who sprayed water over the aircraft, after landing from Amsterdam at 9:15 am.
Charles Buchanan, chief executive at Manston Airport, said: "The start of the KLM service marks the next exciting chapter in the airport’s history. For the first time it connects Kent residents and businesses with the world through a global hub thanks to a national flag carrier airline.
"Passengers can leave home without the worries of road congestion, arrive at Manston, park adjacent to the terminal and enjoy an easy check-in. Importantly, being outside London air space means flights are not delayed on take-off or landing, which means a hassle-free experience that makes air travel a pleasure. And on arrival back at Manston it is a quick and easy exit from the airport, and a short drive home."
Jet2's new East Midlands to Budapest route will be effective from 8 November 2013, adding to its existing services to Budapest from Edinburgh and Manchester.
Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: "We’re thrilled to be the only airline to give travellers from East Midlands and Central England direct flights to this popular central European city, right from their doorstep."