EasyJet expansion will lead to 100 new jobs at Belfast International Airport
MORE than 100 new jobs are to be created at Belfast International Airport as budget airline easyJet expands it summer schedule.
The carrier plans to sell an additional 250,000 seats this summer.
It is yet another boost for Aldergrove authorities with Ryanair set to take off from the airport later this month for the first time.
That comes ahead of a major expansion for the Irish carrier at the base with seven new routes launching this winter.
Belfast International Airport has already announced several hundred new jobs over recent months on the back of Ryanair's arrival.
It said the new positions following on from easyJet's plans would boost the economy by £1.6 million through salaries.
EasyJet is increasing capacity on its London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Newcastle services and extending its Lanzarote schedule.
The airport's business development director Uel Hoey said the growth comes at an exciting time for the aviation sector.
“It’s important to remember that this growth comes in advance of any Air Route Development Fund which we expect to be announced shortly," he said.
"The fund should serve to accelerate growth and deliver links to markets not already served from Northern Ireland. While the finishing touches are being put to the fund, the airport and our airlines are in expansion mode, growing the business, extending the route network and creating jobs.
“We could do much more, and can’t wait to see the remit, scope and extent of the fund, which has been years in the making."
Mr Hoey said the summer was likely to be Aldergrove's "most successful ever".
"We would like to congratulate EasyJet for its long-term commitment to this market and look forward to working closely with the airline to create ever-greater opportunities for the Northern Ireland travelling public and visitors to our region," he said.
Last week, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary was in Belfast to announce the airline's long-awaited winter schedule from the international airport.
It is returning to Belfast for the first time since 2010 with a Gatwick service from the end of this month.
Mr O'Leary said Ryanair would add flights to Berlin, Milan, Lanzarote, Krakow, Tenerife, Alicante and Malaga.
But he said the airline was targeting as many as 40 destinations from Aldergrove.
"We do 140 routes from Dublin. I see no reason why we can't grow to 20, 30, 40 international destinations from Belfast International as well," he told the Irish News.
"The key thing we need up here if that's to be achieved though is, scrap APD (air passenger duty), because that is a real drag on tourism here in northern Ireland and we need to see some real active support in Stormont for tourism development up here."