UK-based airline bmi regional will launch a new scheduled service linking Aberdeen (UK) and Kristiansund in Norway in August, it was announced today (17 June 2013).
The service will be the first direct, scheduled air link between the two cities, which are important hubs for oil and gas activity, and will start on 28 August 2013. It will operate from Aberdeen International Airport on the basis of a single daily flight, Monday to Friday with an Embraer 135 jet. Bookings are now available via the airline’s distribution channels, including its www.bmiregional.com website.
The announcement by the UK’s most punctual airline has been widely welcomed by the business community at a time when oil and gas exploration and production activity, both in the North Sea and globally, is seeing high levels of investment.
Kristiansund is the major oil and gas city on Norway’s mid north-western coast. Oil companies including Shell and Statoil have offices in the city from where they serve their offshore installations at Haltenbanken, one of the most northerly subsea oil and gas provinces in the world. There are currently around 13 offshore installations (including subsea structures) being serviced from Kristiansund and and this will increase to over 30 by 2020, including the building of a 500 km gas pipeline.
bmi regional already operates UK services out of Gothenburg in Sweden and Billund, Copenhagen and Esbjerg in Denmark.
The Kristiansund route is the second new scheduled service launched by bmi regional from Aberdeen International Airport in the past year. Its Bristol service started in October 2012 and the airline also operates from Aberdeen to Esbjerg in Denmark, Manchester and Norwich. Its scheduled network currently serves 23 destinations across eight European countries and it is operating more than 450 scheduled flights a week this summer.
Cathal O’Connell, chief executive officer of bmi regional, said: “Our new Kristiansund route will link two important energy sector locations and we are especially pleased to be bringing the service on stream in time for Offshore Europe 2013. bmi regional has a longstanding relationship with the oil and gas industry based upon our scheduled services out of Aberdeen and the bespoke charter solutions we provide in the UK, Scandinavia and mainland Europe.
“bmi regional is committed to establishing direct links between key industry locations across Europe and Aberdeen – Kristiansund is a prime example of this strategy. Whilst we expect many passengers on the route to travel for business there are also established tourism and cultural connections between the North-east of Scotland and Norway, which we anticipate will result in additional leisure traffic.”
Scotland’s Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing said: “I’m delighted this new route is opening. Aberdeen has an international reputation as a global centre of excellence for the oil and gas industry. This new air route with Norway will be a valuable addition to Scotland’s international air connectivity helping to build business links between oil services companies in both countries. It’s good news for the economies of the north-east and Scotland as a whole.”
Nick Barton, managing director of Aberdeen International Airport, said: “There is no doubt that this route will provide a vital service for the energy industries in both cities, and will serve the business community very well.”
David Rennie, international head of oil and gas at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Helping companies tap into new trade and investment opportunities in overseas markets is one of the key priorities of Scotland’s industry-led oil and gas strategy and the launch of this route will have an important part to play in developing such opportunities.
“As the fourth largest market for Scotland’s oil and gas supply chain – accounting for £690 million of international sales in 2011/12 – we know that Norway offers significant potential for growth. Similarly the new route will also help open up new opportunities for companies from Norway seeking to invest in Scotland. We very much welcome this announcement.”
Tom Smith, chairman of Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (ACSEF) said: “There are strong synergies between both cities and the surrounding regions. This air service should be a catalyst for even greater commercial links, both with regard to work in the North Sea and collaboration between North-east and Norwegian companies in the global oil and gas market. bmi regional’s investment in the new route is also vote of confidence in the strength of our region’s economy and its potential for future sustainable growth.”
Robert Collier, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce said: “Norway is a key trading partner for North-east businesses in the energy sector. This direct connection into an important centre for the oil and gas industry should facilitate existing business between our cities and create new opportunities for collaboration at a time of significant investment in the North Sea.”
Ole Kristian Pettersen, Kristiansund Airport Manager said: “The business and social links between Aberdeen and Kristiansund will be strengthened by this route. Having a daily connection will be efficient for the business market and hopefully the residents of both regions will take this opportunity to explore the new destination.”