Dutch carrier launches new daily Belfast-Amsterdam air link
A new daily service from George Best Belfast City Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol formally took to the skies yesterday.
Operated by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the link will provide business and leisure travellers from the north not only with direct access to the Netherlands, but also to global destinations through the carrier's extensive network such as Boston, Sydney and Beijing.
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: “The Netherlands is an increasingly important market for tourism here. Our natural landscapes and coastline, culture and heritage are important for Dutch visitors. This is a welcome addition to the growing list of air carriers now serving Northern Ireland."
He added: “Operating direct flights from Amsterdam to Belfast City, this new KLM service will improve access to important business and tourism markets in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.
“Air connectivity plays a crucial role in growing our economy and the access a KLM service will provide to global markets will help to ensure Northern Ireland becomes even more accessible for those who wish to visit or do business here.”
Belfast City Airport's commercial and marketing director Katy Best said: “KLM's decision to include Belfast City Airport as its 14th UK destination is a significant feat for Northern Ireland and both business and leisure passengers within the region who benefit from the airline's competitive fares to Amsterdam and an endless list of worldwide destinations.
“The new service will play a huge role in driving inward tourism here. As a one terminal airport, Schiphol offers a quick and convenient transfer product making Belfast and Northern Ireland more accessible than ever for international tourists.”
KLM - which will use a Fokker 70 aircraft to operate the flights between Belfast and Amsterdam - is the second major airline to arrive at Belfast City Airport this month alone after Vueling commenced its Barcelona service last week.
Gerry Lennon, chief executive of Visit Belfast, said: “Access and connectivity are vital if we are to deliver continued tourism growth and achieve the ambitious targets of doubling tourism revenue by 2020.
“As one of the world's largest airlines, KLM operates services to over 130 global destinations from its hub at Amsterdam Schiphol.
“This new service will therefore enable visitors from across the world to connect to Belfast while significantly enhancing the opportunities we can embrace in promoting city break, conference and business tourism.”