KLM has given a boost to regional airports by launching daily services to Amsterdam from Liverpool - a city it has not served since the 1930s.
The Dutch division of carrier Air France-KLM began services from Liverpool John Lennon Airport this week, with three departures a day aboard a 70-seat Fokker 70. The service offers connections at Amsterdam Schiphol to about 100 destinations.
Services from UK regional airports have been in such decline over the past year, following decades of growth, that airport chiefs lobbied MPs for government support last month.
But Air France-KLM UK general manager Christine Ourmieres said: "Regional departures are at the core of our business." The carrier now serves 15 UK airports.
Ourmieres dismissed concern that the Liverpool flights would cannibalise traffic from Manchester where KLM has six daily departures and Air France five.
"We do not believe this will impact on Manchester traffic. We would not have done this if there was any uncertainty," she said, adding that the business case for the Liverpool launch had been studied afresh in light of the recession following an approach from the airport. Ourmieres added: "Agents appreciate regional departures."
However, Air France-KLM has no plans to fly from additional UK airports after issuing a profits warning last week. The carrier revealed an operating loss of euro 200 million for the year to March, against a forecast profit last May of euro 1 billion.
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