March sees the start of around 150 new routes from low-cost carriers departing from UK airports. Airlines such as Jet2, easyJet, Monarch and Ryanair are adding destinations across Europe to the mix, giving passengers a greater selection of city and beach break possibilities.
While the start of new routes is good news in itself, if it means added competition on routes that are already flown by another carrier, that too can lead to a drop in fares for passengers.
Here is my pick of some of the most interesting and exciting additions to the low-cost carrier calendar:
- Birmingham-Milan Malpensa (launches 25 March, Monarch)
From £62, return, including taxes
Monarch becomes the second carrier to offer a direct service from England’s second city to Italy’s home of fashion. Coupled with the fact that the city hosts two of Europe’s most famous football clubs (Internazionale and AC Milan), and is home to Leonardo’s “Last Supper” (at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie), Milan is a cultural hotspot.
- Bristol-Valencia (launches 25 March, Ryanair)
From £36, return, including taxes
Situated on the Eastern coast of Spain, the country’s third-largest city will welcome visitors from England’s Southwest from the end of March. With fares available for under £40, these direct flights to Spain’s Costa del Azahar region -- where average highs reach 20 degrees and upwards from April -- are a great new addition to the timetable.
- Edinburgh-Marseille (launches 27 March, Ryanair)
From £47, return, including taxes
Edinburgh welcomes its first direct low-cost carrier flights to Marseille in March. Fares start at less than £50, return, so it’s a great opportunity to head to the South of France and experience the diversity of Marseille in spring and summer. The port area is lively and beautiful, and the enchanting town of Aix-en-Provence is a short drive away.
- Manchester-Dubrovnik (launches 27 March, Monarch)
From £63, return, including taxes
Croatia’s Dubrovnik is on the Adriatic Coast, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The so-called "Pearl of the Adriatic" is a walled city that, having survived an earthquake in the 17th century and armed conflict in the 1990s, is becoming a popular tourist destination. Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings carry the weight of history and characterise this stunning destination.
- London Luton-Reykjavik (launches 27 March, easyJet)
From £118, return, including taxes
The cheapest way to get to the Icelandic capital from March onwards will be with easyJet. These direct flights will take you to the land of waterfalls, geysers and the world-renowned Blue Lagoon spa for a little over £100. That leaves plenty to spend on moisturisers, mud masks and exfoliates…
- Leeds Bradford-Budapest (launches 29 March, Jet2)
From £71, return, including taxes
Hungary’s capital, Budapest, gets its first direct flights from Leeds from the end of March. Highlights include the UNESCO World Heritage-listed banks of the River Danube, Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue. The remains of the Roman city of Aquincum can be found in Budapest and with flights available for a little over £70, there’s no excuse for those in Yorkshire not to grab the opportunity to see Budapest in spring.
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