FEATURE: Fenland to Jersey in two hours? Cambridge Airport restarts holiday flights
WATER sprays high in the air as the first holiday flight to land at Cambridge Airport for five years touches down.
But champagne was also flowing as the airport tabled a �20million expansion programme and announced plans to become a “gateway to Cambridge, London and the East of England.”
The Blue Islands flight from Jersey landed last weekend at Cambridge - signalling a new era in the airport’s development.
Weekly flights, operating in conjunction with CI Travel, will take place to the Channel Island every Saturday until September 15.
But for Terry Holloway, Group Support Executive at the Marshall Group, which runs the airport, this is just the beginning.
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He said: “Our lands had been earmarked as potential development for housing, so for the last 10 years we’ve been sitting fallow and doing very little.
“Now we’ve declared that we’re in Cambridge to stay and we’re looking outside the box to expand our airport.
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“Cambridge is never going to be a Stansted. It’s not going to be a bucket and spade type of airport but what we’re providing is small, compact, high quality and customer-focused.
“It’s a very exciting time and I’m delighted and proud to be part of our terrific airport team. I can see a wonderful future.”
Cambridge first ran flights to the Channel Islands in the 1950s - but the airport is now also hoping to offer short-haul trips to a series of European destinations.
A new flight to Dole-Jura, near Dijon in France, begins on July 2 and Mr Holloway said they were hoping to provide flights to places such as Amsterdam and Dublin.
Archie Garden, director of Cambridge Airport, said regional airports were able to cut the delays out of holiday travel.
He said: “Not more than about 30-45 minutes in the terminal at Cambridge, both arriving and departing, is a remarkable contrast to the time spent in the terminals of much bigger airports.
“We have all read the horror stories of long delays at major airports featured recently on international news, and I can tell you there is nothing better than using a regional airport.”
Cambridge Airport provides hassle-free travel. Queues are non-existent, security is stress-free and baggage reclaim is a small, manually operated chute.
But if that isn’t enough of a temptation, your destination is Jersey. The Channel Island is home to fine weather and finer food, as our reporter Rob Setchell found out on the inaugural trip.
YOU are now just a couple of hours away from stepping out onto the beaches of the warmest place in the British Isles.
That’s a strong selling point - and I was sold as soon as I stepped off the plane.
Jersey, which has a smaller population than Cambridge, is a forgotten haven for the holidaymaker - and it’s full of surprises.
It has more than 150 restaurants, it is perfect for watersport and it has more history than you might have thought.
Did you know, for example, that Jersey was occupied by the Nazis for five years during the Second World War?
The island’s war tunnels - now a fascinating museum - reveal the compelling story of the years 1940-45, where residents had to choose between fleeing their homes or staying under Hitler’s control.
As well as history, Jersey is blessed with some of the finest scenery in the British Isles. There are endless walks, with 16th century castles and ruined German fortifications perfect for the postcard photograph.
The sprawling beaches are prime spots for blo-karting, which sees you career across the sand on three-wheeled, sail-powered karts, and Jersey’s waters are regarded as some of the best for kayaking.
Mr Holloway said: “Before visiting I would have given a very glib and dismissive answer to the question ‘what is Jersey like?’.
“I almost thought it might be elderly and middle-class - like Frinton-on-Sea - but I’m astonished by all the activities for young people and families.
“I have already spoken to my wife to insist that we come for a holiday here. I think it is one of life’s best kept secrets.”
WEEKLY Blue Islands flights between Cambridge and Jersey start at �99 return including taxes and charges.
CI Travel is offering seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the Radisson Blu in Jersey from �576 per person, including return flights with Blue Islands from Cambridge Airport. This price is based on two sharing. For more information or to book, visit: www.jerseytravel.com
FIERCE competition between Jersey’s many dining options means the standard is incredibly high.
But the coastal Corbi�re Phare restaurant, the Michelin-starred Grand Hotel (www.grandjersey.com), The Seymour Inn (www.seymourinn.co.uk), The Beach House and The Crab Shack offer exceptional eating experiences.
• WALKING and cycling tours with Arthur the Blue Badge Guide (www.arthurthebluebadgeguide.com)
• PUFFIN Bike Hire (www.jerseybikehire.co.uk)
• JERSEY War Tunnels (www.jerseywartunnels.com)
• ABSOLUTE Adventures - blo-karting and kayaking (www.absolutejersey.co.uk)
• DURRELL Wildlife Conservation Trust (www.durrellwildlife.org)