Virgin takes off for first time - and EasyJet add new routes
AS Virgin Atlantic took off on its maiden journey from Belfast to Orlando - and committed to the 2016 summer season - there was news of yet more new routes from the international airport.
Yesterday's was the first of four weekly services to the Florida sun spot with four more return flights planned next year.
Meanwhile, EasyJet announced two new routes to Lyron and Lanzarote.
It will operate a winter service to Lyon from December to March while a year-round operation to Arrecife in Lanzarote is set to start in November.
Passengers on the inaugural Virgin Atlantic service were looked after by a crew entirely made up of people from Northern Ireland.
The Belfast to Orlando service forms part of Virgin Atlantic's joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines while 50 per cent of bookings were made as part of Virgin Holidays package.
Virgin Holidays managing director Mark Anderson said: "This was one of our fastest-ever selling routes when it went on sale last year.
"It's fantastic for our customers across Northern Ireland and beyond that it's coming back in 2016."
Head of EasyJet in Northern Ireland Ali Gayward said the budget airline's new routes "underlines our commitment to the Northern Ireland market".
“Lyon is a key route for skiers and we are particularly excited that it enables access to some of the regions greatest skiing resorts," she said.
“We expect Arrecife to also be a popular choice for our passengers given its fantastic year round climate and wide range of resort choices.”
International Airport managing director Graham Keddie added: "“Once again we are delighted to welcome easyJet developing and diversifying their route network from Belfast International. We have latterly seen the addition of Jersey, Bordeaux, Reykjavik and Split to their Northern Ireland route portfolio and are certain that Lyon and Lanzarote will prove to be equally popular choices for Northern Ireland customers."