TOURISM in Southend will soon get an extra boost after Southend Airport announced that new destinations are to be added next year.
CityJet will operate flights to up to 18 new destinations from Southend Airport, starting in April next year, which could see 600,000 new passengers pass through the airport.
Southend Airport already fly to destinations including Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice.
CityJet, who are expected to have four planes based at Southend Airport from April next year, have not yet agreed on the details of the new destinations.
However, they currently fly to destinations including Dublin, Florence and Antwerp from London City Airport.
Andrew Tinkler, Chief Executive of Stobart Aviation, which owns Southend Airport, said: “We are very pleased to be working with CityJet to add new flights at Southend Airport.
“This arrangement will open up around 18 new destinations, giving our customers more choice.
“These additional services could bring up to 600,000 passengers per year to the airport, providing us with further momentum towards achieving our target run rate of 2.5 million passengers by 2018.”
The new destinations could also be a benefit for businesses in the borough.
Paul Van Looy, a prominent businessman and councillor in Southend, welcomed the news.
He said: “It is fantastic news. It will be good for tourism and will help businesses.
“It will bring more people to the town. Southend is open for business.”
Ann Holland, Councillor for Tourism, said: “For the town and the borough, it is fantastic news for the local economy and the jobs it will provide.
“It will also open up more opportunities for people as I know a lot of staff from the airport are already local.
“More destinations and choice just shows Southend Airport has gone from strength to strength and is still progressing despite what people said about Brexit.
“I would quite like to see them put on national flights, that would be good. Also, anywhere with a hot climate or city breaks.
Chris Fynes, 28, a teacher who lives in Victoria Road, Southend, said: “I think this is great news. It’s always a pain having to trek to other airports when we want to go somewhere a bit different,even though Southend Airport is right on our doorstep. I would quite like to see them fly to Turkey because it is a great destination and good for cheap holidays. Or maybe more places in Europe like Rome or Venice, that would be good.”
Matt Evans, 36, from Leigh, already knows the benefits of the airport. He said: “I have flown from Southend before and it is great because it close and easy to get to. I would quite like to see some more good cities on the agenda.”