NEW flights from Southend Airport have been cancelled weeks after being launched following the departure of budget airline Easyjet, raising concerns for the site’s future.

The new route to Bergen, in Norway, with airline Wideroe has now been paused – amid claims of a lack of interest.

It was launched on August 31 – with the final Easyjet flight leaving the airport on the same day, after the firm announced in July it was closing bases at Southend and Stansted Airports.

The move means remaining airlines at the airport include Flyone, Ryanair and Wizz Air.

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Southend Airport bosses blamed new Norway quarantine rules but councillors raised concerns over the airports future.

Daniel Cowan, Labour councillor for St Laurence Ward, said airport bosses should be worried about the future of the site.

He said: “I think it’s a blow to the airport and bosses will want popular viable routes, which they had with Easyjet.

“Covid-19 has changed the aviation industry and I think privately the airport is concerned as this is not sending out the best message to its investors and passengers.

“I think it is a concern and the airport needs to think about what it’s done well and how it can survive post Covid-19 and ensure it works well in the community for the future.”

David McGlone, Tory councillor for St Lawrence said: “I think this is concerning and disappointing, I thought the new route was a bit of recovery and confidence in the airport and industry.

“It makes you wonder how long the airport bosses can sustain this as it’s a bitter blow and concerning trend.”

But Kevin Robinson, Labour councillor for Business, Culture and Tourism, said he believes the airport is still committed to succeeding in Southend.

He said: “The airport said there was a chance things could change with winter coming up and the altering quarantine rules. I think the rest of the year will be very difficult for the industry.

“The airport says it’s very committed to Southend and people do still want to fly.

“I think what we’re seeing here is an issue across the whole industry.

“I feel sorry for the airline as it was trying to set up new routes and the changes to quarantine rules made it very difficult for this. I think the airport will have a tough time.”

Wideroe bosses said with the new route was hoping to strengthening focus on Bergen as a hub for traffic throughout the country.

Union unite and Easyjet staff have held protests at Southend Airport and it is believed that 161 jobs have been lost as the budget airline withdraws from Southend Airport – stopping flights and closing its base.

A Southend Airport spokesman said: “We can confirm that Wideroe has paused the Bergen route until the spring due to Covid-19. The pandemic has impacted aviation and ever changing quarantine restrictions have resulted in passenger ambiguity.

“Norway imposed a quarantine for all arriving passengers just 10 days before the inaugural flight. Unfortunately this means that whilst there is no quarantine arriving from Norway into the UK, returning passengers and visitors are affected. The Bergen route is currently expected to re-start at the beginning of March, with the new Kristiansand route commencing March 29.”