Emerald adds two routes as competition ratchets up at Belfast City Airport

Ellie McGimpsey from Belfast City Airport (left) with Emerald Airline's head of commercial, Ciarán Smith.

EMERALD Airlines has confirmed it will restore Belfast’s direct air link with Cardiff with a new route launching next week (July 7).

The Aer Lingus Regional operator has also announced a new link to Southampton from July 7.

It comes just weeks after Eastern Airways pulled the only direct link between Northern Ireland and Wales.

It will see Emerald expand its services at Belfast City Airport to a total of eight destinations at a time when it is facing increased competition from Flybe and Easyjet.

Flybe’s new owner Thyme Opco has already launched six routes at Belfast City Airport since March 2022, with flights to East Midlands and Manchester launching next week (July 7).

Flybe plan to add four more routes before the end of August, meaning it will go head-to-head with Aer Lingus Regional on six routes at the airport this summer.

It will also directly compete with Aer Lingus’ mainline service on the London Heathrow route.

EasyJet is also expanding its presence at Belfast City with a new Liverpool service on Friday, joining the London Gatwick flights launched last year.

The budget carrier, which remains the anchor airline at Belfast International Airport, also appeared to respond to Eastern Airways withdrawal of its Cardiff service by announcing plans to fly from Belfast City Airport to Bristol in September.

Ciarán Smith, head of commercial at Emerald Airlines said more routes are planned over the coming months,

“When quick getaways are on the top of everyone’s mind, we are offering convenient timings and low fares, increasing connectivity to and from Northern Ireland,” he said.

“We are extremely pleased with the feedback we have received since beginning our operations from Belfast City Airport and believe Cardiff and Southampton are great new connections that will cater to both business and leisure travellers with direct, convenient and cost-effective flights from Belfast.”

Ellie McGimpsey, aviation development manager at Belfast City Airport, said: “Aer Lingus Regional’s base at Belfast City Airport has been operational for just over three months and we are thrilled to already see expansion in both the number of routes served by the airline and the frequency of its services.

“With the addition of Cardiff and Southampton, Aer Lingus Regional will now operate routes to eight of the 21 destinations Belfast City Airport will fly to this summer.”

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