Within weeks of starting up, a new flight service to Paris from West Sussex has been forced to suspend its operations.
Brighton City Airways made the shock announcement that it had been forced to ground it cross-channel business flying from Brighton (Shoreham) Airport due to problems with French customs failing to agree terms over serving the firm’s destination of Pontoise.
The company had already secured more than 1,500 business and leisure bookings for flights, which were formally suspended on May 7.
Its key selling point had been its overall trip time of under three hours, which recognised a gap in the market with the nearest equivalent services operating via Heathrow.
Priced at £69 one way, the company had used a 19-seat Let 410 commuter aircraft, which it believed could have potentially pave the way to expanding to other short-haul destinations including Brussels and Amsterdam.
As the firm’s director, Jonathan Candelon, explained, there has been a significant level of investment and research into bringing the project to fruition.
There have previously been other failed attempts at introducing cross-channel flights at the site from an operator called Skysouth, which ceased trading after just two years due to adverse economic conditions. South East Business experienced the new route, which appeared efficient and friendly, offering additional cost links for VIP transfers upon arrival.
For a business people with meeting lasting several hours in Paris, this could potentially save executive travellers a considerable level of journey time.
According to the team behind the venture, it held confidence in a business model that met genuine demand from both business and leisure customers.
Having previously set up Flying Time Aviation pilot training at the airport, Mr Candelon who created Brighton City Airways with entrepreneur Neil Loughton, said that despite the initial response to the service “exceeding expectations,” he had not anticipated the customs scenario that emerged at a late stage and forced the company to cease flying.