Bristol and Birmingham are returning to the British Airways network, with a summer programme of flights to Spain and Italy.
Ten years ago, BA ended almost all flights that did not begin or end in London, with the sale of its regional operations to Flybe.
But following the recent decision to operate weekend flights from Manchester to a range of Mediterranean destinations, the airline is to offer a similar service from Birmingham and Bristol.
From May, both airports will offer BA services to Florence, Ibiza, Malaga and Palma.
All the routes except Florence already have existing services on rival airlines.
The BA flights will use small Embraer jets normally deployed on business routes from London City airport. The Docklands airport is closed for 24 hours at weekends, and rather than leave aircraft on the ground a plane will be “positioned” to each of Bristol and Birmingham.
Airport bosses see the move as a hopeful sign of further expansion by BA.
David Winstanley, Chief Operating Officer for Birmingham, said, “Having British Airways return to Birmingham is not only great news for the airport but also the Midlands region and we are confident this is the beginning of a long-term growth plan with the airline.”
Robert Sinclair, Bristol airport’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted with today’s announcement which will see the iconic British Airways brand returning to Bristol Airport.
“We look forward to working with British Airways on the new routes and further enhancing the services available from Bristol.”
Ryanair today began flights from Aberdeen to Alicante and Malaga. And easyJet has announced a new summer link from Luton to Zadar on the Croatian coast.