The Belgian operator’s flights between Southampton and Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg, will be linked via a stopover in the petrochemical hub of Antwerp in Belgium, which is home to the second-largest port in Europe and is known for its diamond district.
Hamburg, another busy port, is a major industrial and media centre with local employers including Airbus, Blohm + Voss and Der Spiegel.
Arthur White, CEO of VLM Airlines, said the addition of the route was in response to demand from local communities. "All three destinations are respected international seaport cities, as well as popular tourist hotspots so we’re very confident the route will prove successful," he added. "Southampton becomes the fourth international port city to be served by VLM, alongside Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp."
The announcement comes at a time of growth for Southampton Airport, which saw passenger numbers increase by 21% last month compared to the same period in 2014.
Dave Lees, MD of Southampton Airport, said: "We’re continuously working to expand the airport's route network to give our loyal passengers a great choice of destinations, and Antwerp and Hamburg make perfect additions to our programme. This will link three major ports in Northern Europe and will be attractive to the marine and energy industry in this region, as well as leisure passengers."
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