KLM is to begin flights from Manston airport in eastern Kent to Amsterdam from April 2013.
The Dutch carrier will offer twice daily flights from Manston to Schiphol from April 2 which will increase the number of UK airports it serves to 17.
KLM will operate Fokker 70 jets with capacity for up to 80 passengers on the new route. The aircraft will feature both business class and economy.
Henri Hourcade, UK general manager for Air France KLM, said: “Demand for efficient and convenient schedules to long-haul destinations from the UK continues to grow to emerging markets in Latin America, Africa and the Far East, but equally to established markets such as North America.
“By connecting the UK regions to worldwide destinations, KLM is offering more choice to holidaymakers, but equally adding to the infrastructure for regional UK businesses.”
Hourcade added that Manston had a catchment area of 1.5 million people who faced "difficult access" to major airports such as Gatwick and Heathrow. The move is part of Air France KLM's policy of using regional UK airports to feed traffic to their twin hubs of Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle.
"We are quite confident that we can raise awareness in Kent about the advantages of having Manston on their doorsteps," he said. "The local chamber of commerce has been very enthusiatic about KLM giving them easy access to Schiphol and its connections to the emerging markets. Schiphol is a very familiar hub to people in the UK and it's very convenient because everything is in one single terminal."
KLM will become Manston’s only scheduled carrier when it begins services next spring – currently charter operators Newmarket Holidays and Jersey Travel are the only companies to offer flights from the Kent airport. Flybe used to operate flights from Manston but pulled out of the airport in March.
Flights from Manston will leave at 06.35 and 10.40 with return services from Amsterdam departing at 10.10 and 20.50.
Manston’s chief executive Charles Buchanan added: “The new services will be a real benefit to Kent and its residents. Passengers will be able to arrive at Manston, park adjacent to the terminal building, check in and be on the flight to Amsterdam within minutes.”