Ryanair announces new flights between Edinburgh and Belfast with new Northern Ireland routes
Last year the Irish low-cost airline announced it was pulling out of the Northern Irish airport, citing concerns over air passenger duty (APD).
But it has now announced 12 new routes from the hub this summer, operating 115 flights per week, meaning those travelling from the Scottish Capital can visit Belfast.
As well as Edinburgh, the routes include Alicante, Faro, Barcelona Girona, Milan Bergamo and Malaga as well as domestic services to East Midlands, London Stansted and Manchester.
Ryanair’s Belfast-based fleet will comprise of two aircraft and create 60 aviation jobs at Belfast International as well as a number of indirect roles.
Ryanair’s director of commercial, Jason McGuinness, said the move marked a longterm deal with the Northern Ireland airport.
He said: “At a time when other airlines are cutting their schedules and reducing their workforce, we are delighted to announce a new Ryanair base at Belfast International Airport with 12 exciting routes.
“We are delighted to have reached a long-term agreement with Belfast International’s management, which will underpin future Ryanair growth at the airport over the coming years.
“Today’s announcement, particularly our decision to launch close to 80 weekly domestic flights to/from East Midlands, Edinburgh, London Stansted and Manchester, demonstrates that lower aviation taxes and competitive airport charges are the catalyst for long-term traffic growth and increased connectivity.”
Mr McGuinness added that concerns over APD remain.
“To enable additional investment from Ryanair (and other airlines) from next summer onwards, the UK Government must immediately scrap aviation taxes for all flights, otherwise it will put the UK at risk of losing air traffic to competing European countries,” he said.
Belfast International Airport’s chief financial officer, Dan Owens, said: “This is a significant investment, bringing job creation and positive news for our passengers and the region.
“It increases the number of destinations now available from the airport to over 70 domestic and international destinations, offering more choice than ever for travellers.”
Meanwhile, George Best Belfast City Airport has announced new services to Cardiff and Southampton with Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Emerald Airlines.