Aer Lingus announced this week that it is opening a regional base at Belfast City Airport. The flag carrier of Ireland is also launching six routes across the Irish Sea from the hub this year.
According to a press release seen by Simple Flying, together with Stobart Air, Aer Lingus is operating new routes from Belfast City to Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, and Exeter.
The services to Edinburgh from the Northern Ireland capital will begin on August 27th. Meanwhile, flights to Exeter will start on August 28th. Operations to Manchester and Birmingham will commence on September 15th. Finally, flights to East Midlands and Leeds Bradford will proceed from October 1st.
Stobart Air operates routes on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional. The Dublin-based outfit will now base five of its ATR72-600 aircraft at Belfast City Airport. In total, it operates 30 Aer Lingus Regional routes from bases in Dublin, Cork, and Belfast.
Now, the carrier will perform a high-frequency schedule with convenient flight times to facilitate passengers. This would provide essential connectivity between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. Altogether, Aer Lingus plans to operate more than 200 flights weekly to and from Belfast.
The Independent highlights how these routes used to be taken on by Flybe. However, the British outfit went bust, leaving its 200 routes up for grabs.
Getting back on track
Belfast City was one of the most impacted airports following the carrier’s collapse. Therefore, Brian Ambrose, chief executive of Belfast City Airport, shared his excitement about the move by Aer Lingus. He emphasized the vital role that aviation would play in the post-pandemic realm.
“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,” he said, as reported by The Independent.
“As an island off an island, air connectivity with the rest of UK is critical to enabling the Northern Ireland economy’s recovery.”
Air Lingus CCO David Shepherd said that together with its up to three-times-daily service from Belfast City to London, this move means that Aer Lingus / Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, is the largest outfit serving out of Belfast the airport. Therefore, connectivity is ensured between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Many passengers have relied on these routes to popular destinations across the British Isles over the years. So, once demand picks up again, Aer Lingus’ services will undoubtedly be appreciated by several travelers on both sides of the Irish Sea.
What are your thoughts about Aer Lingus’ regional base at Belfast? Do you feel that this is a good move for the airline? Let us know what you think of the initiative in the comment section.