Poprad, one of the largest cities in Slovakia, is expecting a consort of British travellers this Christmas, after London Luton Airport announced a new route to the Tatras Mountains, a resort popular with fans of snow sports.
Getting from Luton to Slovakia just got a whole lot easier… and festive!
The advent of the winter season is unpopular with airline executives, because it marks the end of buoyant summer profits, and brings about a slow slide into financial insecurity.
However, the European Alps and the modest Carpathians are slowly becoming a panacea for miserable managers, providing airlines and villagers alike with an income.
Winter sports remain a lively industry all year round, and intrepid skiers have been chomping at the bit since September, eager to find something a little more glamorous than the Scottish and Welsh peaks or a dull indoor slope.
A boom in cheap airfares has allowed hard-up tourists to try out their skills on more exotic slopes, such as those in France, Italy, and now, in Slovakia.
Luton’s new route will serviced by Danubewings, an airline from Bratislava, and one of the youngest carriers to grace the tarmac at the London airport. The tiny firm has just three aircraft in its fleet, all based within the Slovakian capital.
Danubewings will offer a thrice-weekly trip from the 1st December 2009. The carrier is keen to attract Ryanair renegades – travellers who don’t want to pay £1 to use the onboard bathroom.
Michael O’Leary’s airline is one of the few British carriers to offer a route to Slovakia.
"Low-fare flying continues to make business and leisure travel accessible to millions of Europeans. The launch of this new service to Poprad provides yet more choice." Simon Harley, departmental boss at Luton Airport, was jubilant.