Blue Islands has announced a plan to restore key routes at Southampton Airport, flying an ATR72 in brand-new corporate colours.

The aircraft touched down at the airport from its Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago Jersey base earlier, as the airline confirmed four initial routes.

The airline will offer daily departures to Jersey and Manchester from the end of August, as well as a four times weekly service to Dublin and a double-daily route to Guernsey.

This is a significant expansion for the 15-year old regional airline, which has connected the Channel Islands with Southampton since 2007.

Blue Islands operated between the Channel Islands and Southampton in Flybe colours, as a franchisee from 2016, but is relaunching following its collapse.

Its goal is to replace lost capacity on core business routes in the south and south-west such as Southampton and Exeter to Manchester, and to connect people from Jersey and Guernsey.

Blue Islands will also be working with partners to offer connections for passengers travelling northbound beyond Manchester.

It is initially basing one 70-seat ATR72 at Southampton, creating 20 direct jobs, including pilots, cabin crew and maintenance staff.

A further 20 more indirect jobs will be generated, including in ground handling and other associated activities.

“When the market improves, Blue Islands plans to add a second aircraft at Southampton, covering an increased selection of routes and frequencies,” said Blue Islands executive director Paul Simmons, speaking in Southampton.

Blue Islands is also adding more flights from the UK regions to Jersey, including connections to Bristol, Exeter, Birmingham and East Midlands Airport.

As well as its scheduled services, Blue Islands operates extensive charter programmes for European tour operators, bringing visitors to the islands from across Europe including Zurich, Rotterdam, Groningen and 20 regional airports throughout Germany.