Robin Hood dumped by EasyJet

EasyJet
, is to abandon all flights out of Robin Hood Airport from January 4 2011.

Nick Smillie, the Yorkshire hub’s sales director, noted that a number of "operational restrictions" had contributed to easyJet’s sudden exodus, just four months into its residency, including a number of awkward take-off times, due to aircraft being stationed at other airports.

EasyJet is the second major airline to end operations at Robin Hood, after bitter rival, Ryanair, announced a cull of all winter flights from the airport in August 2009.

The move could result in the loss of 23 routes from Doncaster, including lucrative flights to Amsterdam in Holland, Faro in Portugal, Palma in Majorca, Barcelona in Spain, and Prague in the Czech Republic.

Airport bosses claim that easyJet’s routes to ‘sun and sea’ destinations were flying at 99% capacity, suggesting that the airline’s impending escape is not financially motivated.

Robin Hood will now need to pester other airlines into covering some of the cancelled flights, to prevent valid tickets going to waste.

Whilst not unheard of – easyJet and Flybe recently saved travellers stranded when Ryanair withdrew services at Belfast City – the Doncaster hub will need to move quickly if it is to secure replacements before the winter lull.

A lone aircraft will be transferred from Robin Hood to Liverpool in January, ending easyJet’s brief liaison with South Yorkshire. The carrier’s employees will also be sent to other UK airports, such as Gatwick, and easyJet’s spiritual home, Luton.

Nick Smillie was unhappy with the loss of easyJet’s routes, “We are naturally very disappointed. We were really proud of getting a big-name carrier. We cannot deny this is a setback."

Local newspaper, the Free Press, called the news a "massive blow" for the Doncaster hub.

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