A NEW non-stop direct coach service linking York with Leeds-Bradford International Airport starts sooner rather than later - and the fare structure has already been decided.

The First York express coach link, which is predicted to be a breakthrough for tourism and business in York, was to have begun operating from March 1, but instead gets going on February 26.

The three express coaches dedicated to the route could slash up to 35 minutes off normal journey times and potentially generate millions of pounds for the city, which will become more accessible to European business people and tourists.

Now First York's website is being amended to help with online booking. Passengers using the internet will be charged £10 for a single ticket and £15 return. The price of an e-ticket will include free bus travel to and from the York city centre terminus.

Passengers buying tickets on the coach will be charged £12 single and £17 return.

Two children under the age of 16, travelling with two adults, go free.

"We are looking forward to it, " said Peter Edwards, First York's commercial director.

The Press Business Monthly first announced the new 55minute service in November.

Initially, the coaches will run every hour from 4.45am to 11pm seven days a week.

They will be equipped with luggage space and staff to help with baggage.

The new service has been welcomed by Jet2. com, which is based at Leeds Bradford International in Yeadon and hopes to profit from direct sales between Europe and York.

It was also hailed by Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of York Tourism Bureau as "the most exciting piece of news we have had for years".

Cathy Mason, finance and commercial director at Leeds Bradford International Airport, said: "We are confident that this new direct coach service will be of benefit to both the business community and leisure travellers to and from the region, in particular those coming to York.

"York is an important part of our catchment area and is a key attraction for inward tourism. Through this service we aim to ensure that Leeds Bradford International Airport is York's airport."