LAST TUESDAY a British Airways A320 Airbus on a direct flight from London Heathrow touched down on the tarmac of San Javier airport for the first time and received a traditional welcome from the duty firefighters in the form of an arc of water directed at the plane from two fire trucks.
The new route is an exciting development for the airport, linking it to the largest airport in Europe in terms of passenger numbers and the sixth largest in the world.
The twice weekly service flies into Heathrow Terminal 5, with easy onward access to central and West London. It also offers passengers from the Murcia region the possibility of connections to airports worldwide.
British Airways commercial manager for Spain, Portugal and North Africa, Ron Sachs, speaking from London to the Spanish press said “we are excited about the launch of this new route and we are confident that it will be a great success for the population of Murcia and southern Alicante, who can now fly directly to London Heathrow Airport, and can connect from there with the 209 destinations we fly around the world.”
He also highlighted the Murcia region’s attractions to passengers arriving from Heathrow. ”The area’s amazing coastline, its gastronomy and its golf courses of recognised international prestige, will ensure these British Airways flights enjoy a great popularity among British tourists.”
The 130 passengers who disembarked from the inaugural flight were greeted by warm spring temperatures and a light breeze from the Mar Menor.
Inside the terminal was the opening ceremony to celebrate the route’s opening, also attended by British Airways customer service director for the Levante area, Xavier Serrano Pérez; Coordinator of Iberia ( fellow members of parent group IAG ) in Levante, Alfonso Sanz Tejero; the flight crew and Airport Director, Pedro Vicente Gallut.
Gallut also highlighted the potential the route creates with 75 million passengers flying out of Heathrow each year, adding that San Javier Airport had normally been associated with budget airlines flying from smaller airports.
His thoughts were echoed by first passenger off the plane, head of the regional business collective CROEM, who stressed the importance of the route to business passengers in the post-Brexit era.
The Tuesday and Saturday flights are part of the summer schedule and will run until the end of october. In total the airport will be connected to 25 cities in six countries. With a 5.7% increase on passenger numbers on last year, the airport is approaching the 2 million mark it reached in 2006 and 2007.