Jet2 announces eight new Belfast routes creating 50 jobs
BUDGET airline Jet2 has announced eight new European routes to depart from its Belfast International Airport base next summer.
The new travel destinations are part of a major investment from the airline and is expected to create a total of 50 new jobs for the local economy.
Summer 2018 will mark the biggest ever flights and holiday programme for Jet2 from Belfast and includes six new routes exclusive to the holiday operator.
The six exclusive routes are Turkish coastal resort Antalya, Madeira, Crete, Costa de Almeria , Naples and Paphos, with the airline also operating a new weekly service to Rhodes and Malta.
In total there will be more than 400,000 seats available from next summer, a 39 per cent increase on 2017, with an additional Boeing 737 800 aircraft to be based in Belfast.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said the investment offered further choice for holidaymakers.
"We have made a huge investment in Belfast, creating new jobs and putting in an additional aircraft to allow holidaymakers to fly to more destinations than ever in Summer 18," he said
Managing director of Belfast International Airport, Graham Keddie said the decision by Jet2 to base a fourth aircraft at the airport and expand its route network showed Northern Ireland was a good place to invest.
“Jet2 and Jet2 Holidays will offer over 400,000 seats for Summer ’18 and that will deliver enormous additional choice for the Northern Ireland holiday-maker," he said.
“A fourth aircraft – in this case, a larger Boeing 737-800 – is a multi-million pound commitment and the clearest possible signal by the airline that Northern Ireland is a good place to invest.
“Of course, with the welcome expansion will come new employment opportunities. Up to fifty jobs spread throughout the airport will have to be filled, including ground crew, pilots and cabin crew which will mean £1.5 million in wages injected into the local economy," he added.
The investment comes after Belfast played host to the prestigious Routes Europe Conference for the first time. The major event attracted 114 airlines and representatives from 370 airports and about 40 tourism organisations.