Airline pulls the plug on new Birmingham services even before they start

The operator of new flights to the United States from Birmingham Airport has axed one of the services even before it has begun.

Airline Primera Air revealed last year it planned to offer cut-price flights to Boston and New York to try and attract some of the business lost to the airport following the withdrawal of services to Newark and New York JFK by United and American Airlines respectively.

However, it has now pulled out of the Boston route, which wasn’t due to begin operations until May.

It is also reducing the service to New York to four flights a week.

The Boston service has been withdrawn from the airline’s website, although bookings are still being taken for the New York service.

Primera is also set to launch services from Birmingham to Toronto later this year and bookings are also being taken for these flights.

The airline has said that while passenger numbers for the Toronto and New York services remain strong, take up for the Boston route had been low.

It said the low take up, partly due to poor incoming traffic from Boston, had also had a knock-on effect for the New York services, hence the reduction in flights.

As with many airlines, in what is a highly competitive sector, Primera said it had had to focus on the destinations which offered the best commercial returns.

The airline said there was no suggestion it was considering pulling out of Birmingham, which it said was its biggest new base for 2018.

It has also hinted that new flights may be in the pipeline but has not said any more at this stage.

All passengers with existing bookings to Boston are being contacted and offered alternative flights or refunds.

A spokesperson for Birmingham Airport said: “We are confident that Primera Air has made this strategic decision for the longer term success of its operation and we will continue to support the airline to successfully launch its new operation from Birmingham in May.”