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Winter Flights to Languedoc Rousillon

Thursday 01 November 2012

A review of the schedule of winter flights between Languedoc-Roussillon and the UK, courtesy of local resident and flight watcher John Fairclough.

The airlines and airports have announced their winter schedules good and early this year, no doubt in an attempt to entice us to book well in advance.

Less happily, the range of services and frequencies from the airports have once again been drastically cut from November onwards, with fewer to choose from than the 2011-12 winter season.

The demise of BMIBaby has meant that there is one fewer airline offering services to this region. Booking well in advance may well be the order of the day!

Below is a summary of what seems to be available in terms of direct flights to destinations in the UK and Ireland.

Once again PERPIGNAN sees no direct UK/Ire services, with only the Air France connection at Paris, and maybe an option of using Ryanair via Charleroi (Belgium) the sole possibilities.

Likewise GIRONA has seen savage cuts to its Ryanair operation, begging the question as to how genuine the alleged "dispute" over landing charges that led to cuts last winter really was! The only Ryanair flight available this winter will be:

Manchester 4x per week


CARCASSONNE fares little better with reduced Ryanair options compared to last year:

Stansted2x pw
Dublin2x pw


At BEZIERS only one of the summer Ryanair links survives the axe:

Bristol2x pw
Luton2x pw


MONTPELLIER chips in with an EasyJet flight:

Gatwick3x pw


So, once again, it’s down to BARCELONA to provide the lion’s share of UK/Ire flights, though I estimate that, even here numbers are down about 10% compared to last winter. The promised improvements to rail connections there in theory should make access easier, but until such time, a flight from El Prat does represent something of a trek.

Birmingham2x pw (Ryanair)
Edinburgh 3x pw (Ryanair)
Glasgow Prestwick3x pw (Ryanair)
Liverpool4x pw (Ryanair)
7x pw (EasyJet)
Manchester3x pw (Monarch)
Leeds Bradford2x pw (Jet 2)
Stansted 7x pw (Easyjet)
14x pw (Ryanair)
Southend5x pw (EasyJet)
Luton12x pw (EasyJet)
Gatwick38x pw (Easyjet)
7x pw (Monarch
Heathrow56x pw (BA/Iberia)
Newcastle4x pw (Easyjet)
Dublin5x pw (Ryanair)
7x pw (Aer Lingus)


Other Options

It may well be that for some people the only realistic option will be to change planes, either in the UK at major airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester etc, or in France at airports in nearby regions such as Lyon or Toulouse, with owward travel by car or train.

Another possibility is the use of the train via TGV and Eurostar services. SNCF is promising fare deals to/from London St Pancras via Paris or Lille starting at around €60 each way. It seems that they cannot be booked more than 3 months in advance, and the bargain basement fares will involve the same sort of restrictions to cancellation/amendments and luggage as demanded by the budget airlines.

So, all in all, continued hard times for those wishing to travel to/from PO outside the popular summer months. There may well be new routes added in the Winter edition as airlines crank up their winter sports flights in the New Year, but realistically, I suspect that it will only involve Toulouse.

This article has been supplied with the kind permission of P-O Life, the leading Anglophone magazine and website for the Pyrénées-Orientales.


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