Two new flights take off as City Airport backfills old Flybe route network

Ellie McGimpsey, aviation development manager at George Best Belfast City Airport, is joined by Ciaran Doherty, stakeholder liaison manager at Tourism Ireland, in launching inaugural Aer Lingus Regional flights from Belfast City to East Midlands and Leeds Bradford. Picture: Darren Kidd/PressEye
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A PORTFOLIO of new routes from Belfast City Airport announced earlier this year by airline partner Aer Lingus Regional has been completed following inaugural flights yesterday to East Midlands and Leeds Bradford.

Operated by Stobart Air, they add to Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Exeter routes which have commenced in the last six weeks, and complement the long standing Aer Lingus service to London Heathrow.

And it means the airport has now backfilled the entire Flybe route network with Aer Lingus Regional and other new partners including Loganair and Eastern Airways.

The latest two routes will operate up to three times per day, further enhancing connectivity and providing passengers with a wider choice of options to the north and east of England.

City Airport's aviation development manager Ellie McGimpsey said: “East Midlands and Leeds Bradford have always been popular routes served from Belfast City, and we have no doubt that their return will be welcome news for many.

“These inaugural flights complete the series of new routes with Aer Lingus Regional following launches to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter and Manchester.

“Having these high-frequency connections across the UK benefits both business and leisure passengers and it has been great to work with Aer Lingus and Stobart Air to secure these essential links.”

Ciaran Doherty, stakeholder liaison manager at Tourism Ireland, added: “In what has been a truly awful year for travel and tourism, this launch is good news for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland.

“As an island, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated – and the restoration of air connectivity is essential in restoring growth in overseas tourism.”

Figures just submitted to Companies House show that Belfast City Airport - which is owned by two pension funds managed by 3i - increased its turnover last year.

Sales rose to £22.6 million from £22 million in the previous year, despite a marginal dip in passenger numbers to 2.4 million, though pre-tax losses widened from £166,000 to £427,000.

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