A publicly-funded air link between Derry and London could be moving to Heathrow under plans by its current operator Loganair.
The Scottish carrier took over the public service obligation (PSO) route in February 2019, following the collapse of Flybmi.
The Irish News reports that Loganair has now secured a number of slots at Heathrow from British Airways, which could enable the airline to switch its Derry to Stansted service to Heathrow from April 30, should it be awarded the new PSO contract.
The existing City of Derry to London PSO contract expires on Friday, with a new two-year deal set to be announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) in London.
Derry City and Strabane District Council, which owns City of Derry Airport and ran the tender process, said it was not in a position to announce the new contract winner yet.
But it is understood the £4 million tender has already been awarded and Loganair is continuing to sell seats on its Derry to London service for the next 12 months.
The latest tender for the PSO contract left it open for the operator to connect Derry with any one of six airports within proximity of London.
A London airport has been defined by DfT as any airport that can access transport zone one of London within 60 minutes by rail.
Since 2019, Loganair has used both London Southend and more recently London Stansted airports for the Derry route.
The opportunity to switch the service to Heathrow follows the collapse of Flybe.
The failed regional carrier had acquired 86 weekly slots from British Airways in April 2021.
The latest data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recorded 10,400 passengers at CoDA during January 2023.
This was 43 per cent higher than January 2022, but still below pre-Covid levels, when it typically carried 14,500 passengers in the same month.
The potential to connect CoDA to Heathrow would represent a boost to the Eglinton terminal, opening its business and leisure passengers to a much greater range of potential range of connection flights.
The airport has also been boosted by Ryanair’s decision to increase activity on its Manchester route from this weekend.Tags: