Here comes the sun!

Here comes the sun! Start of sunshine flights from Norwich after nine year absence

Today [24th March] marks the return of scheduled sunshine flights from Norwich Airport for the first time in almost a decade and just in time for the Easter holidays.

The new flights to Malaga and Alicante in Spain will operate year-round thanks to a partnership between airport owners Regional & City Airports (RCA) and Flybe.

The partnership will see one of Flybe’s E195 118-seater jet aircraft service both routes, with the first flight to Malaga taking off today, and the first departure to Alicante tomorrow.

Today also marks the start of a new scheduled service from Norwich to Exeter Airport in Devon, with a flight time of about an hour compared to around five hours by train or car. This route is the first in the UK to launch with support from the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund which encourages new routes to and from UK regional airports.

Commenting on today’s launch, Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said: “It is fantastic to see Flybe launch this new direct air service between Norwich and Exeter, offering significant journey time savings for passengers. Our smaller airports are vital engines for local economies, connecting the UK and opening up opportunities. That is why the Government is backing new regional air routes to drive investment and boost growth across the country.”

Richard Pace, General Manager at Norwich Airport, said: “This is a great day for Norwich Airport with the start of our scheduled sunshine flights to Spain for the first time in nine years, and a new daily service to Exeter in Devon, one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK and gateway to the South West.”

Andrew Bell, Chief Operating Officer for RCA, the airport management division of Rigby Group PLC which owns Norwich Airport, said: “Our partnership with Flybe to revive these scheduled sunshine routes has been hugely welcomed by our customers. Coupled with the launch of the new Exeter flight, which we expect to be popular with business and leisure travellers, it demonstrates our commitment to enhance connectivity from Norwich Airport at home and abroad.”

“We look forward to welcoming all our new passengers on board,” said Vincent Hodder, Flybe’s Chief Revenue Officer. “We are committed to offering customers ‘the fastest way from A to Flybe’. Our Exeter flights are faster than road or rail and will cut the ground journey by some four hours. Customers have warmly welcomed our new sun routes as well.  We just love the fact that we are improving travel options for another UK regional community.”

RCA acquired Norwich Airport in 2014 and owns Exeter Airport and Coventry Airport. For more information about scheduled and holiday flights from Norwich Airport please visit www.norwichairport.co.uk


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Notes to Editors

About Norwich Airport

Norwich International Airport is part of Regional & City Airports, the airport management division of Rigby Group plc having been acquired in June 2014. The airport employs 250 people.

The Airport offers direct scheduled flights to Amsterdam (with connections to over 600 destinations worldwide), Aberdeen, Alicante, Edinburgh, Exeter, Guernsey, Jersey, Malaga and Manchester. Connections through Manchester enable passengers to reach Belfast, Glasgow, Isle of Man, Inverness and many more.

Holiday flights operate to the Balearic and Canary Islands, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Italy.

The scheduled airlines and charter operators currently active from the Airport are:

  • KLM, Eastern Airways, bmi regional, Flybe and Loganair
  • Thomson, Thomas Cook, Balkan Holidays, Newmarket Holidays and Omega Holidays


The airport is a key hub for the southern North Sea offshore oil and gas industry. Four major offshore helicopter operators are based at the airport. These are Bristow, Bond, CHC and NHV. Last year 100,000 passengers travelled offshore from the Airport.


About Rigby Group plc

Formed in 1975, Rigby Group is the parent company for a portfolio of privately owned and highly successful businesses operating across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Rigby Group has diversified from its origins as a principally technology-led business and evolved – through smart, strategic acquisitions – into a £1.8 billion business with interests in the technology, airports, hotels, real estate, financial and aviation sectors. Rigby Group businesses include Europe’s largest independent technology provider SCC, British International Helicopters, the Eden Hotel Group, international property developers Rigby and Rigby and Regional & City Airports.

With two generations of the Rigby family at the helm, Rigby Group has built a distinguished reputation as both an investor and business operator; renowned for its independent thinking, seamless execution and a peerless approach to acquiring and nurturing businesses to unleash their potential.

About Regional & City Airports (RCA)

Regional & City Airports (RCA) is Rigby Group’s highly-innovative airport management company. RCA owns and operates Norwich Airport, Exeter Airport and Coventry Airport, holds management contracts for Blackpool International Airport, City of Derry Airport and Lee on Solent airfield, and is actively building its portfolio of owned or managed airport assets across the next five years.

Regional airports are vitally important to the economic development of regions, not just in the UK but across the world. To survive and prosper, smaller regional airports need to cooperate and collaborate – enabling them to benefit from the economies of scale and sharing of best practice traditionally enjoyed by larger hub airports. This is the vision behind RCA.

RCA has built a reputation as an efficient, safe and commercially-savvy airport operator, driving improvements to route development, commercial revenues, operating costs and capital investment in order to deliver a consistently sound commercial return. As RCA grows it is increasingly able to leverage significant buying power and shared expertise. Already employing more than 650 people, RCA is on its way to becoming a leading player in the regional airport sector and is taking advantage of the lack of capacity at major hub airports in the UK to demonstrate how regional airports can ease the strain.