MAJOR no-frills, low-cost airline buzz is to target air travellers across the south with flights in and out of Bournemouth Airport from next year.

Initially two 148-seater Boeing 737-300 jet aircraft will be based at Bournemouth, creating more than 200 jobs at the airport and perhaps hundreds more in the region.

The UK's third-largest low-cost airline says it will fly to a range of destinations throughout Europe with services starting from the end of March 2003.

Details of destinations and seat prices will be confirmed within the next few weeks by buzz and at this stage it is not known whether the airline will operate on routes such as Paris and Amsterdam, rivalling services from Southampton International Airport.

Tony Camacho, chief commercial officer of buzz, said: "We have been courted by a number of UK airports but ultimately we felt that Bournemouth had the strongest offering.

"We believe that it's a superb regional base for us to grow the south coast market and offer flyers a welcome alternative to London Gatwick.

"The south coast can now kiss goodbye to rip-off prices and say hello to cheap flights on their doorstep.''

Bournemouth will be buzz's second British base and the move is part of an aggressive expansion plan which also includes the opening of a third UK base and another in Europe by the end of next year.

Already flying in and out of London Stansted, the airline estimates it will put 750,000 low-cost seats into the market from Bournemouth in its first year of operation. Seats will go on sale later this year by logging on to

Councillor Brian Harrison, chairman of Bournemouth Airport, said: "This is great news for the airport, the whole south coast region and for local tourism and businesses.

"We're delighted to welcome buzz and we strongly believe that having a major low-cost player based at the airport will prove to be a huge magnet for a wider audience who may not previously have considered flying from Bournemouth.''

The arrival of the low-cost carrier will create jobs in security, ground handling, administration and catering at the airport and it is estimated that a further 1,000 jobs could be created indirectly as a result of buzz moving to the area.

Geoffrey Wilkinson, chief executive officer of the South West Regional Development Agency, said: "The arrival of buzz is of critical importance to the transport infrastructure of the south-west.

"It not only puts Bournemouth Airport firmly on the map but will help create further public transport improvements."

Currently, buzz flies to 22 destinations in Europe in France, Germany and Spain.