Business

Flybe axes Belfast City Airport link with Newcastle

Flybe is ending its Belfast-NEwcastle link from the end of June
Gary McDonald Business Editor

LOW cost carrier Flybe is cancelling its George Best Belfast City service to and from Newcastle from the end of June, it said yesterday.

The loss-making airline said the Belfast City service had "failed to perform to expectations" and added that passenger numbers remained insufficient to justify its continued operation.

A spokesman said: “Flybe carefully reviews the viability of all our routes on a regular basis, looking both at passenger numbers but also at external cost pressures.

"This is done not only to monitor where we can offer increased regularity on a given route but also where passenger numbers make a flight economically as well as environmentally harder to justify."

Flybe still offers more than a dozen routes from Belfast City Airport with a choice of around 600 flights week.

And it says sales on its summer schedule (bookable from March 27 to September 30) to an extensive range of UK destinations are going well.

Increased frequency is a highlight of the newly expanded schedule, with up to five daily flights to Liverpool, six flights a day to Edinburgh and Glasgow, a new daily service to Inverness, and the city of Aberdeen served by two flights each day.

Flybe's 2016 summer schedule also features the return of weekly holiday flights to Newquay and up to seven rotations a day to the airline's Manchester hub.

This, it says, offers onward connectivity to a wide range of regional destinations with Flybe including its new route to Rotterdam, and also globally with its many codeshare partners when booked through a travel agent or direct with a chosen carrier via Flybe's bespoke Skyscanner link accessed via www.flybe.com.

Three daily flights to Southampton not only offer easy access to southern England but also a convenient connection for cruise travellers.

Exeter-based Flybe, which flies 66 planes in its fleet, is the biggest customer at Belfast City Airport, but in recent years has axed a number of routes including Galway and Bristol, although it has also added some links, notably to London City.

Last year it posted a pre-tax loss of £35.6 million in the year to the end of March, compared with an £8.1m profit 12 months previously.

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