Norwich woman’s dream job takes off with extra flights

A Norwich woman is taking to the skies with a new job thanks to the launch of extra services to Manchester from the city's airport.

Cat Tyler, who lives in Riverside, is part of the cabin crew on the new three times a day Flybe services, which were launched yesterday.

The 27-year-old, who has previous cabin crew experience, was working in a traval agency when she spotted the job on the Evening News' Jobs 24 website.

'I miss flying so much so I had to come back to it,' she said. 'I was over the moon when I saw the job advertised because you just don't get opportunities like this in Norwich.'

The three daily flights to Manchester are part of a partnership with Flybe and its franchise partner Loganair as part of a strategy which will see capacity reduced from 156 to 93 but a greater frequency of flights. Passengers will fly on board a dedicated 31-seat Dornier 328 turboprop aircraft, which will be based at Norwich and operated by Suckling Airways, part of Loganair, in a move which has also seen the creation of 15 jobs for pilots, cabin crew, and engineering staff. From March 25 the plane will also fly daily to Exeter, while a weekly service to the Isle of Man will also be introduced the next day. Flybe is also launching a direct service to Newquay from May 5.

Jerry Froggett, commercial director at Suckling Airways, said the company received more than 200 applications for jobs with 15 vying for the four cabin crew jobs.

'We had an extremely strong response and could have taken on all 15 without any difficulty at all,' he said.'

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Andrew Bell, chief executive of Norwich International Airport, said the new service was part of a model for high frequency low volume services, which if successful could be extended to other UK or near European destinations. The airport is also looking to see if it can secure routes to holiday destinations, such as Spain and Portugal, based on its traditional charter model.

'My objective has to be based on getting a sustainable route network,' Mr Bell. 'I started at a time when the market had contracted and my focus is on the long term, finding out what people want, but also providing the right frequency. Routes like Manchester, Exeter and the Isle of Man have the right frequency but lower volume. There's no point having 180 seats flying backwards and forwards as you won't fill it.

'That doesn't preclude opening up routes to mainland Spain and Portugal, but we need to find the right operator. All of these things are not off the agenda, but they are being sought in parallel to this.'

Mr Froggett said the first extra Manchester flight was two-thirds full and numbers were building strongly.

'It doesn't seem like a huge increase, but in reality the idea is that it's offering business people a choice of departure times,' he added.

'Passengers from Norwich will be able to 'hub' through Manchester, which opens up other destinations such as Glasgow, making it possible to do a day return.

'The route exists primarily for business travellers, but it's accessible to everybody and the fares reflect that.'