Subsidised flights from the City of Derry airport in Northern Ireland to London will be switched from Stansted to Southend.

The Loganair service has been running to Stansted since the Scottish carrier took over the route in February following the collapse of Flybmi.

However, the public service obligation route, subsidised by the government and the Department for Transport, is being moved to Southend airport from October 27.

The contract between City of Derry and Southend has been awarded for two years with the potential of a one-year extension.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said he was backing the route because the daily direct flights were “important”.

“This public service obligation protects an important route which provides a valuable connection for businesses in the region, maintaining 26 flights per week on a 49-seater aircraft,” he said.

“Up to six direct trains an hour from London Southend airport also provide a connection to the City of London in just over 50 minutes.”

Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles, said: “Following a competitive tender process, we are extremely pleased to have been awarded the PSO route between London and the City of Derry.

“London Southend is a highly convenient entry point to England’s capital and the south-east, serviced by its own dedicated train station only 100 steps away from the airport terminal.

“This latest phase of partnership between Loganair and London Southend airport will significantly enhance air connectivity in Northern Ireland’s north-west, generating lasting benefits for both the region’s economy and our customers.”

Glyn Jones, CEO of Southend airport owner Stobart Aviation, added: “We are delighted London Southend has been selected to help retain this important daily link between Derry and London, which is vital for both business and tourism.

“New early and late trains, along with up to six services an hour to London Liverpool Street in 52 minutes, bring Derry and London closer than ever.”