Regional airports have been offered a lifeline with the planned resumption of flights by Eastern Airways.

Routes are being restored from Southampton airport from June 22.

The network will include Aberdeen, Belfast City, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, Teesside and Dublin.

The airline’s plans to protect regional routes following the failure of Flybe in early March were blown off course by Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Eastern has now put a new schedule on sale from the south coast airport with an initial daily weekday service to Belfast City, Manchester, Newcastle and Aberdeen.

Links to Leeds Bradford and Teesside will follow on June 29 and Dublin on July 23.

Frequency will be increased “as appropriate” in July, August and September to help restore connections to Southampton.

In-flight service will initially be limited to reduce customer contact.

A full anti-bacterial wipe down of all touch points between every service operated and a comprehensive night-stop sanitisation will be implemented, according to the carrier.

“As restrictions begin to ease, services will be carefully re-introduced with extensive cleaning measures on-board and throughout all aspects of the airport,” the airline said.

“The safety of all customers in addition to all staff will be paramount throughout the journey including airports and on-board the aircraft.”

Commercial and operations general manager Roger Hage said: “We are pleased to announce that our Southampton flights are returning from 22nd June with a carefully considered initial frequency to support the major regions of the UK and ensure regional connectivity returns given its vital role in recovering economic prosperity.

“We will continue to increase frequency including the return of weekend services as demand returns along with adding new routes to our network.

“All services will ensure the safest procedures for our customer care are offered in conjunction with our airport partners.”

Southampton airport managing director Neil Garwood said: “As we restore airport operations, we are absolutely delighted to welcome back Eastern Airways, providing vital connectivity across the UK, and enabling the recovery of regional economies.”