Primera Air, the budget Nordic airline, says it has no current plans to launch transatlantic flights from Manchester, despite debuting there next winter.
Primera, which starts services from Stansted and Birmingham to the US and Canada this spring, will operate four flights a week from Manchester to Malaga from October 29, with one-way fares from £31. But Nauris Bruvelis, the airline’s marketing manager, told TTG: “We don’t have clear plans yet for a new base.” He said all Primera’s aircraft capable of long-haul flights “will be used for current flights from Stansted, Birmingham and Paris”.
Primera’s Malaga flights will be operated by an aircraft based at the Spanish destination.
In other short-haul expansion, the carrier will operate from Stansted to Tenerife and Alicante plus Birmingham to Alicante, Tenerife, Las Palmas and Reykjavik.
Primera has confirmed its flights from Birmingham to New York Newark and Toronto will continue next winter, with Newark being served four times a week and Toronto three times. Newark flights are due to start on May 18. An initial plan to offer a daily service has now been scaled down, with three frequencies dropped from June 23.
Anastasija Visnakova, Primera’s chief commercial officer, said: “Historically Malaga is our strongest destination and with 1,000 flights last year it was also our most in-demand destination. Malaga is also popular for UK travellers, so we believe our Manchester route will give British travellers improved flight options.”
She added: “We’re happy that Reykjavik is our first short-haul Northern European destination out of the UK. For an airline whose roots stem from Iceland, it is also a somewhat symbolic move.”
Primera plans to add more flights to its UK bases, including new transatlantic routes. It has 20 new Boeing 737 MAX9-ER (extended range) aircraft on order and can use these for long or short-haul flights.
Primera has today (March 22) put 99 tickets from Stansted to each of its North American destinations – New York, Boston, Washington and Toronto – on sale at £99. Stansted flights begin on April 19 with Newark, followed by Boston on May 18, Toronto flies a day later and Washington on August 22.