Stobart Air (who operate Aer Lingus Regional flights) has announced an expansion of service out of Belfast City Airport.
Stobart Air will base five aircraft out of Belfast City Airport operating, to six destinations in the United Kingdom.
The airline will operate services to Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Exeter, in a phased startup, with it being driven by passenger demand.
The exact dates planned from Belfast City Airport are (with lead-in fares in brackets):
- Edinburgh – 27th August (£29.99)
- Exeter – 28 August (£34.99)
- Manchester – 14th September (£29.99)
- Birmingham 14 September (£29.99)
- East Midlands – 1 October (£34.99)
- Leeds Bradford – 1 October (£34.99)
All routes will be operated by ATR72-600 turboprop aircraft.
Stobart Air will operate a high-frequency schedule with convenient flight times to facilitate passengers, providing essential connectivity between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive at Belfast City Airport, said:
“Despite an extremely challenging environment, we’re delighted that Aer Lingus is to establish a new base and significantly enhance its UK network from Belfast City.
“As an island off an island, air connectivity with the rest of UK is critical to the enabling the Northern Ireland economy’s recovery.
“This announcement is testament to the recent investments by our shareholder in making the airport and its facilities best in class, exceeding passengers’ expectations in a location only five minutes form the centre of Belfast.”
Commenting today, David Shepherd, Chief Commercial Officer at Aer Lingus, said:
“Together with our up to three-times-daily service from Belfast City Airport to London, today’s announcement means Aer Lingus / Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air is the largest operator out of Belfast City Airport, ensuring connectivity between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
“Not only will Aer Lingus customers benefit from a convenient schedule, award-winning service and great value; they can also avail of our innovative loyalty scheme. AerClub allows members to collect Avios reward points ‘in the air’, every time they book flights, ‘on the ground’ and ‘online’ from a wide range of brands including retailers online such as ASOS, Disney+, M&S via the AerClub eStore.
“In response to current uncertainty regarding air travel, Aer Lingus has introduced a range of measures including no change fees until the end of the year. Detail regarding steps you should take before you fly to keep yourself safe, as well as measures being taken by the airlines, can be found on our website.”
Commenting on the announcement, Andy Jolly, Managing Director at Stobart Air, said:
“Working with Belfast City Airport and our partners, Aer Lingus has been part of that journey and we are pleased to establish a base at Belfast City. Through six routes, we are committed to providing essential connectivity between Belfast and rest of the UK, while we will continue to be guided by the official Government guidance.
“High frequency day-return flights from Belfast City Airport to key cities across the UK will facilitate travellers.
“Through our long-term franchise partnership with Aer Lingus, Stobart Air operates 30 routes to key destinations across Ireland, the UK and France, and we look forward to ongoing success with our franchise partner.
“Enhanced health and safety measures in line with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the WHO, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)have been implemented to protect our customers and our staff.
“We continuously strive to provide our passengers with frequent, convenient and affordable services through our regional connections. We look forward to welcoming our passengers on board these routes from Belfast City.
Whilst the threats of the pandemic continues to recede, airlines are seeking to gain passengers, as well as restore connectivity (remember, we are in a time of post-Flybe, who used to do a lot of these sorts of routes).
Unlike some UK domestic options, taking the train isn’t an option when travelling between Northern Ireland and Scotland/England (especially if you’re taking a short trip, so having this option is important for those needing to travel quickly.
It will be interesting to see how they scale up the services as passengers return.
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