Initially, Darwin will offer 12 weekly flights to Amsterdam, six to Paris, four to Milan and three to Geneva. The one aircraft operation starts on weekdays at 06:55 with the morning departure to Amsterdam, with an evening return getting back at either 20:15 or 21:35 depending on the day of the week. Paris flights operate in the late morning, with Milan and Geneva sharing the afternoon slot.To begin with, the airline will only have codeshare agreements with Alitalia, but the airline has confirmed that it is in negotiation with other SkyTeam members (Air France and KLM presumably) regarding similar arrangements.
In order for Darwin to fill its 12 weekly, 50-seat operation from Cambridge (over 50 weeks to therefore include any schedule reductions during public holidays etc) to Amsterdam, the airline will need to attract 36,000 annual passengers to fill these flights to an acceptable 60% load factor. Assuming no market stimulation, this will mean enticing 9% of the 2012 demand currently using services at Norwich and London Stansted. Using the same calculation for the Geneva and Milan Malpensa routes, the new Cambridge services will have to encourage 13% of easyJet’s Geneva passengers to switch airlines, but just 4% of Ryanair’s Milan Bergamo operation.
Maurizio Merlo, CEO at Darwin, said “As we expand within Europe, the UK is a key market for us to further establish and we are delighted to open our new base in the heart of East England. Cambridge is at the forefront of several business sectors and spearheading the UK’s economic growth – it is thriving and vibrant, one of the UK’s most valuable and affluent markets. The team here at Cambridge Airport and many of the city’s stakeholders have inspired us to invest and connect the region to Europe and beyond.”
Commenting for the airport owners Marshall, Steve Jones, managing director of Aviation Services, said, “The opening of this new and exciting base by Darwin Airline is a strategic step in our development of Cambridge as a regional international airport. This puts our city firmly on the international transport map, making it easier for people from around the world to get here. As an established regional carrier in Europe, we feel that Darwin Airline is the perfect partner for Cambridge Airport going forward, offering long term expertise, award-winning service and global connectivity.”
We also remember the new route announced at the beginning of May between Ancona and Rome, starting from 1st of June with four flights a day on behalf of Alitalia by virtue of the code-share agreement signed on October 2012 between the two airlines.