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Aer Lingus Regional and Ryanair Boost Services From Belfast as Flybe Temporarily Suspends Routes

Cardiff Airport has hailed the return of Aer Lingus Regional, with the carrier’s new five-times-a-week service between Cardiff and Belfast City Airport formally taking off from today.

Emerald Airlines, the new exclusive operator of the Aer Lingus Regional service, recently announced Cardiff and Southampton as two new routes from Belfast City Airport.

Aer Lingus Regional is the largest airline at the airport.

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. In addition, we will continue to add more routes and increase frequencies over the coming months,” said Ciarán Smith, head of commercial at Emerald Airlines recently.

“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,” Ellie McGimpsey – aviation development manager at Belfast City Airport – said at the recent route launch.

“With the addition of Cardiff and Southampton, Aer Lingus Regional will now operate routes to 8 of the 21 destinations Belfast City Airport will fly to this summer,” she said.

Separately, Ryanair has also delivered good news for Belfast – by reopening its base at Belfast International Airport. The airline will recommence 12 routes, covering more than 115 weekly flights, from summer 2023.

Ryanair’s return will see it link Belfast International with a mix of sun and UK destinations including Alicante, Faro, Barcelona-Girona, Malaga, Edinburgh, London-Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands.

Ryanair will have two aircraft at Belfast International, representing a $200m investment. The return will also support 60 direct and more than 750 indirect jobs at the airport.

Ryanair has boosted its presence in Belfast.

“We are delighted to have reached a long-term agreement with Belfast International’s management, which will underpin future Ryanair growth at the airport over the coming years,” said Ryanair’s director of commercial Jason McGuinness.

Belfast International Airport’s chief financial officer Dan Owens said: “This is a significant investment, bringing job creation and positive news for our passengers and the region. It increases the number of destinations now available from the airport to over 70 domestic and international destinations, offering more choice than ever for travellers.

The Ryanair and Aer Lingus Regional announcements follow UK budget airline Flybe temporarily ceasing three routes from Belfast City Airport and reducing capacity on a further five routes.

Flybe has temporarily suspended some services linking Belfast City Airport and the UK.

Flybe has suspended its Belfast routes to Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle during the summer and has lowered frequency on its services from Belfast to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Southampton.

The lateness of new aircraft deliveries has been given as the reason for the disruption.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
I have worked in journalism for more than 25 years. I am joining ITTN from The Irish Examiner, having worked there for the past 16 years as a senior business reporter. I have also contributed to, and written for, the likes of Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune, amongst others titles.

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