BA to extend coverage of former Aer Lingus Regional routes at Belfast City
BRITISH Airways has announced it will continue operating a number of former Aer Lingus Regional routes at Belfast City Airport this winter.
BA and its subsidiary BA City Flyer have stepped in along with sister IAG airline Aer Lingus to cover most of the routes to Britain vacated following the collapse of former franchise operator Stobart Air in June 2021.
New Irish carrier Emerald Airlines has already been confirmed as the new operator of Aer Lingus Regional from 2023, formally penning a ten-year deal last month.
Aviation industry veteran Conor McCarthy’s start-up was this week granted an air operator certificate by the Irish Aviation Authority.
But Emerald will need a UK licence in order to return to Belfast City Airport.
It’s understood IAG is keen to bring forward the start date, with some reports that Emerald could commence commercial flights in the Republic this January.
The return to Belfast could be slower.
As a result, British Airways (BA) said yesterday it will continue operating routes from Belfast City to Exeter and Leeds this winter, increasing the frequency of flights in each case.
The carrier will also begin operating the Belfast City to Birmingham route, currently being operated by mainline Aer Lingus.
Flights to Birmingham will operate twice daily, increasing to three times a day on Thursday and Friday.
The frequency of the new BA City Flyer service between Belfast and Glasgow, launched in early August, will also increase.
Scottish airline Loganair previously operated the route.
Belfast City Airport’s commercial director, Katy Best said: “British Airways has a longstanding presence at Belfast City Airport, and its introduction of regional services earlier this year has been strongly welcomed by our passengers who know and enjoy the excellent BA product.
“This latest increase in frequency is superb news for those who want to plan ahead and book winter staycations or weekend breaks in Birmingham, Exeter, Glasgow or Leeds. The convenient flight times will also be attractive to business travellers who avail of can same day returns.”