13 amazing places UK airlines should wake up and start flying to

After a six-year hiatus, British Airways will return to Peru in December, relaunching flights to the country’s capital, Lima. 

The new route from Heathrow will be welcomed by anyone hoping to enjoy the city’s burgeoning restaurant scene, or to head further afield and tackle the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. 

But there are plenty of other surprising blank spots on Britain’s air travel route map. Here are 13 wonderful places waiting for airlines to take a punt.

Cartagena, Colombia

The addition of Lima will mean there are six cities in South America with a non-stop flight from Blighty: Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Bogota, Santiago and Lima (British Airways also flies to Guyana, a route it launched in March, but with a stop in St Lucia). 

Which means nothing to Uruguay (the weed-loving Colorado of South America), Paraguay (a curious, landlocked country of cowboys and jaguars), or Ecuador (the gateway to the Galapagos), all of which have links with Madrid. Bolivia (with its lofty capital, “Death Road” and mesmerising salt flats) is also unconnected – not just to Britain, but the whole of Europe. 

And how about Cartagena, the jewel in Colombia’s tourism crown, which can be reached from Madrid, Zurich and Amsterdam, but not London? 

Belize has no direct flights from Britain despite it being a former colony Credit: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

Belize

BA flies to San Jose, the capital of wildlife-rich Costa Rica, but still leaves six Central American countries unserved: Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama, plus the diving haven (and former British colony) of Belize. 

As well as spectacular reefs, Belize has white sand beaches and Mayan ruins. The locals also speak English, so UK holiday companies should have no trouble flogging it. You can fly to the country’s main airport from a dozen North American cities, including Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and New York. It’s time for our airlines to get in on the action.

Karpathos, Greece

Britons wishing for a Greek island holiday are spoilt for choice. They can fly non-stop to 12 Greek islands. These are – by order of capacity – Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Kos, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Santorini, Mykonos, Lefkada, Skiathos, Lesbos and Samos. But one simply cannot have too much Greece, so what about Karpathos? 

This wild isle, where women are said to rule the roost, exists in a fascinating time warp – despite possessing an international airport. You can fly there from airports in Italy, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, so why not Gatwick?

Where you can fly to from Britain

Bali, Indonesia

Exactly 97 countries have no non-stop air link with the UK, including – for obvious reasons – Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. But an even more populous country than Russia can also not be reached without a change of planes: Indonesia. 

This hasn’t always been the case. In 2019, Garuda Indonesia launched a direct service from Heathrow to Bali, and has also previously flown non-stop from Heathrow to Jakarta. But neither route survived the pandemic. It’s time to restart those flights to the party island. 

Another victim of the Covid era was Philippine Airlines’ service from Heathrow to Manila. Last year, there were rumblings that the route would return, but nothing more. 

Seychelles

Equally strange is the lack of direct connections between the UK and this Indian Ocean honeymooners’ favourite. It wasn’t always so. BA launched non-stop flights from Heathrow to Mahe in 2018, but they too fell by the wayside during the pandemic and never returned, forcing Britons to fly via the Middle East. 

But surely if Condor, from Frankfurt, and Edelweiss Air, from Zurich, can make their routes to the Seychelles profitable, it isn’t beyond the capabilities of our flag carrier. 

Direct flights to Brisbane might be on the cards, but not for a while yet Credit: Yongyuan Dai/iStockphoto

Brisbane, Australia

Non-stop flights from London to Perth arrived in 2018, courtesy of Qantas, and the Aussie airline hopes to launch a non-stop service to Sydney in 2025 (it would take 21 hours to cover the 10,978 miles). 

Should it prove a success, a direct flight from the UK to Brisbane, gateway to Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, might also be on the cards. 

According to a 2019 blog by the aviation analyst OAG (before Covid lockdowns threw global travel into disarray), about 200,000 people travel indirect from Heathrow to Brisbane each year, making it one of the top 10 unserved ultra-long-haul routes in the world

Namibia

Britons can fly non-stop to 13 African countries: Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal (added in November 2022), South Africa, Sudan (currently suspended), The Gambia and Tunisia. But that leaves some excellent holiday options without a direct link. 

One of which is Namibia, home to many miles of dramatic landscapes, including the world’s oldest desert, highest sand dunes, the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park – where herds of elephant, rhino, oryx and zebra roam – plus prehistoric rock carvings and incongruous German colonial-era architecture. You can fly to Windhoek, its capital, from Frankfurt but not the UK. 

Tanzania 

Other fine holiday options in Africa that require two flights to reach include Botswana, widely regarded as the ultimate safari destination with dramatically contrasting landscapes, from the Okavango Delta to the Kalahari Desert; Zimbabwe, which, despite its problems, remains one of the continent’s great countries for wildlife; Mozambique, a slowly emerging option for beach breaks; and Madagascar, home to some of the world’s weirdest animals. 

What about Tanzania? You can fly to Dar es Salaam from Amsterdam, Paris and Istanbul, but not the UK, making the country’s first-class safari camps and the exotic island of Zanzibar harder to reach. 

Tbilisi, Georgia

Britain has direct flights to nearly every European capital, with Skopje (North Macedonia), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Pristina (Kosovo) among the more obscure recent additions to our route map. 

But what about the Georgian capital? Tbilisi’s old town is made for meandering – all narrow lanes lined with pretty wooden houses, bohemian bars, inviting cafes and stone churches – while beyond the city lies one of the world’s best countries for a  proper hiking holiday

Before the pandemic, it was possible to fly to both Tbilisi (courtesy of Georgian Airlines) and Kutaisi, in the west of the country (thanks to Wizz Air). But both routes have been lost. It’s time for airlines to return.

Yerevan, Armenia

Straddling the border of Europe and Asia, the Armenian capital is another notable absentee. One of the continent’s oldest cities, established in 782BC (30 years before Rome), it retains its antiquated charm (despite the best efforts of property developers), with wide, leafy boulevards lined with cafés and wine bars. You can fly there from numerous airports in France, Germany and Italy, but not Britain. 

Armenia’s other highlights include the monastery of Khor Virap, with its awe-inspiring views of the snow-capped peak of Mount Ararat, just across the border in Turkey; Garni, a sort of miniature Parthenon, built in the 1st century AD; and the monastery of Geghard, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The French Caribbean hotspot of Martinique is blessed with sandy beaches, but not a direct flight from Britain Credit: Tuul & Bruno Morandi/Digital Vision

The French Caribbean

UK holidaymakers tend to gravitate towards former British colonies when it comes to Caribbean breaks, with Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica and St Lucia among our go-to islands. The French do likewise, with Guadeloupe and Martinique (still French overseas territories) among their favourite winter-sun options. 

Indeed, you can fly to the former from five French airports (as well as Rome, Milan and Basel) and the latter from three (plus Dusseldorf and Frankfurt). But neither has a direct link with Britain. It’s time airlines gave us the chance to combine white-sand beaches with trips to the Carrefour. 

Cambodia

There has never been a direct flight from the UK to Cambodia, with travellers hitherto satisfied to make Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City their entry points to the region. But with Cambodia being less crowded and less costly, and possessing arguably superior archaeological sites and beaches, it might be time to change that. 

Hawaii

Those 9,000-mile Qantas flights from London to Perth take 17 hours. Considerably closer, at 7,280 miles, but without a direct link, is Hawaii. Might airlines take a punt on travellers wishing to visit without a stop in LA? 

Of the eight main islands that make up the US state, Oahu is a fine option, with the state capital of Honolulu shining on its south coast, the warm sands of Waikiki Beach providing an urban playground, the sombre history of Pearl Harbor, the majestic Diamond Head volcano, and the hiking trails that hit its top. 

Or try Kauai, the most northerly member of the group, whose Waimea Canyon resembles a mini Grand Canyon in sunnier climes.


What other cities deserve direct flights from Britain? Give us your suggestions below

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/653244755/CkJP0F3BkgzqKZmV?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

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