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New flights for winter

The flight route between London and Dresden has proved a tricky one commercially.

In recent years, Ryanair has had a go, Lufthansa has had a try and even British Airways have given it a whirl. None have lasted. The latest candidate to give it a try is a German airline no-one will have heard of: OLT Express. And they’re operating from an airport that nobody uses, Southend.

With its website in German only, it is clear which market OLT is aiming at, although God knows what Germans arriving at Southend will make of the facilities and the transfer arrangements. And the airline is going to add Saarbrucken to Southend, too, in a couple of months’ time.

I don’t think German-fanciers at this end will be using the new service to flock to Saarbrucken – although it could be handy for eastern France – but Dresden is a different story. A lovely city on the Elbe, with fleets of paddlesteamers, nearby vineyards, an emotive history, and a fabulous Christmas market, the Striezelmarkt, which is not only Germany’s oldest and has been going since 1434 but also one of the biggest. And it isn’t alone; there are a number of other thematic markets that help turn Dresden into a veritable Christmas city: a Middle Ages market in the Stallhof courtyard, a romantic one near Dresden Castle, a baroque version on the main street and a nostalgia market near Church of our Lady.

Meanwhile there’s a transfer of routes for anyone interested in the fine Bavarian city of Nuremberg; Air Berlin, which flies from Gatwick, is dropping the route in January – but CityJet is picking it up at the end of the same month with flights from London City.

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