The rise of budget airlines has had many effects on the air travel industry over the past decade or so. Apart from offering cheaper ticket prices, and therefore opening up the option of flying to a certain destination for the first time for many people, the number of companies operating has also meant that smaller and more local airports are becoming a much more important part of our transport system.
There are many advantages to be had from using a local airport – whether it be Newcastle or Birmingham Airport. The queues that can form both outward and inward bound at major airports are legendary and have only become worse in recent years through the application of more stringent security procedures.
On the outward journey, queues often form at the scanning stages where people and their carry-on luggage are subjected to enhanced security measures. On the return journey there can be significant delays at passport and immigration checkpoints due to the large number of people using airports and severe staffing problems that the UK Border Force has been experiencing of late.
Using a smaller, local airport, such as Manston Airport, can bypass these problems. Due to passenger numbers being lower than at major hubs, this can be a much more pleasant experience for the traveller.
Another obvious plus is the fact that these airports are closer to home and therefore travelling time to and from them is cut to a minimum – something which can also work out a lot cheaper. Reputable airlines such as Flybe can offer a service that makes the most of these advantages.
Some good examples of local airports are Birmingham in the midlands and Manston in Kent. As befits the nation's 'second city', Birmingham airport has connections to a wide range of destinations from Belfast to Budapest and Dundee to Dusseldorf. British connections include Edinburgh and Glasgow whilst international flights service Madrid, Milan, Paris and Zurich amongst many others.
Birmingham Airport (BHX) is less than ten miles from the city centre and there is a free dedicated 'Air-Rail Link' monorail system connecting it with Birmingham International Train Station.
At the other end of the country Manston Airport in Kent is less than twenty miles from Canterbury and within easy distance of Manston, Ramsgate and Broadstairs. The international code for Manston is MSE and it often appears on signs simply as 'Kent Airport'.
Connections are easy with the location only a ten minute drive from Ramsgate railway station. Of course, on-site there are all the usual facilities you would expect for shopping and getting a bite to eat and drink.
Again, the list of destinations served by Manston may come as a surprise to those who have previously been unaware of the increasingly importance of local airports. Brussels, Budapest, Frankfurt, Madrid, Prague and Paris are all international destinations which are served by flights from Manston, whilst UK connections include Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Guernsey and Newquay.