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easyJet, Europe’s leading airline, yesterday (19 April) launched services from Gibraltar to Bristol. The new route, which operates three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, is a year round service and provides the first regular scheduled direct service between Gibraltar and Bristol. 147 passengers travelled on the inaugural flight from Bristol to Gibraltar on Sunday 19th April, and 108 took the first flight from Gibraltar to Bristol on the same day. easyJet will operate the flights using a 156 seater A319 and expects the new route to attract around 39,000 visitors during the first 12 months. Fares start from £19.99 one way. Ali Gayward, easyJet’s Head of Gibraltar, said: “We’re delighted to have added this new route to our network from Gibraltar and that services between the two destinations have now commenced. We will have more than 19,000 seats available on the new service this summer alone. “We continue to see an increased number of travellers looking to fly with easyJet on our Gibraltar routes and with affordable fares and flight time of just over two and a half hours, we’re confident that this new service will prove popular with both business and leisure travellers. “We remain fully committed to serving Gibraltar and supporting the growth of tourism and business through our easy and affordable fares.” Ashley Fox, MEP for the South West of England & Gibraltar, said: "Gibraltar has always been a bastion of British culture and the gateway to the Mediterranean. For centuries it has had strong links with the South West of England built on the foundation of mutual defence and respect and the sharing of the Royal Navy. These bonds can only be strengthened by this direct transport link between the two parts of the region I represent. I would encourage everyone in the South West to visit Gibraltar and enjoy the sun, sea, sand and friendly atmosphere of The Rock and I hope that many Gibraltarians will travel to the South West and enjoy our famous hospitality as well.” Minister for Tourism, The Hon Samantha Sacramento MP, together with representatives of the Gibraltar Tourist Board and staff of the Gibraltar International Airport, greeted passengers upon arrival. The Reenactment Society provided a colourful historical escort for the occasion. Minister Sacramento, said she was delighted that the easyJet Bristol connection had finally materialised, as it would strengthen Gibraltar’s ties with a region of the UK with which it already enjoys important political and business relations. She further highlighted that tourism is a vital component of the economy and Gibraltar’s long term economic prosperity. The Minister said: “This air link to Bristol once again underlines our determination and commitment to expand air connectivity to the Rock, which we recognise is essential in order to ensure increased business opportunities to our thriving tourism, leisure and hospitality industry. “The GSLP-Liberal Government has demonstrated its resolute support for the tourist industry by investing in the product and in strategic marketing initiatives, to ensure that Gibraltar’s robust profile as one of the leading short break destinations in the Mediterranean is further enhanced. “Our overriding aim continues to be to attract more and more visitors to the Rock each year and to this end we will devote our energies and attention in the coming months to consolidate last year’s positive trends in tourism.” About Gibraltar: Gibraltar, famous for its beautiful Rock, is ideal for those looking to escape to sunnier climates. Travellers can take advantage of Gibraltar’s breath taking views from the top of the Rock, vast history and heritage and VAT-free shopping, as well as giving tourists an opportunity to explore the deep caves and tunnels of the British Overseas Territory.