Two Irish Airlines To Cut Some Flights From Belfast’s Airports

Ryanair and Aer Lingus are both set to cut routes at Belfast City and Belfast International airports. The changes are set to start from this winter and to be completed by next summer.

Ryanair - Flugzeug
Ryanair has dropped domestic and international routes from Belfast International Airport. Photo: Andreas Trojak via Flickr

Axed routes

BBC News reports that from November, Ryanair will be dropping flights to Berlin, Lanzarote and Manchester from Belfast International Airport. This follows the airline’s March announcement that stated they were halting flights to Poland and Malta from the same airport.

Ryanair blamed the cuts on issues related to UK Air Passenger Duty (APD), along with a “weak UK market”. Customers have received emails from the company that says that certain flights will cease operation from November 6th.

The report also states that another Irish airline, Aer Lingus, is preparing to stop flights from Belfast. Passengers will soon be unable fly to Faro and Malaga from the Northern Ireland capital’s other key airport, Belfast City. The changes were confirmed to be implemented next summer following the company’s commercial review.

Aer Lingus A320 EI-DVH
Aer Lingus are also stopping routes from Belfast. Photo: Brian via Wikimedia Commons

Disappointment in Belfast

The two Belfast airports have expressed concern over the carriers’ decisions.

“Naturally, we are extremely disappointed at this further reduction in service. The airport has worked hard with Ryanair over the last four years to build, develop and sustain these direct routes. Yet again this highlights the taxation disadvantage posed by Air Passenger Duty (APD) on airlines operating from Northern Ireland,” a spokesperson for Belfast International said, as reported by Belfast Live.

“We have consistently highlighted the problem which Air Passenger Duty (APD) in Northern Ireland creates for air service development and job creation. Our hope now is that with this news, the Government will see the damage that APD continues to do to our sector and the impediment the tax creates to attracting and maintaining services.”

The article also shared quotes of disappointment from a Belfast City spokesperson.

“While this news will come as a disappointment to the thousands of passengers that filled the Faro and Malaga flights during the summer months, the airport will continue to work closely with Aer Lingus and IAG to explore other international routes.” The spokesperson said.

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The decision by Ryanair has been met with concern in Belfast. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

Refocused attention

Ryanair stated that the late delivery of up to 30 Boeing MAXs is causing certain loss-making bases to be closed. However, the airline didn’t specify on the situation at Belfast. Meanwhile, the airline recently announced the beginning of new flights between Luxembourg and Toulouse airports.

The routes will be flown by a B738 and will be scheduled three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Despite the reports of the recent downturn, figures reported this month show progress. The firm saw an 8 percent growth in passenger traffic from 13.8m to 14.9m from August 2018 to August 2019.

The company’s direction was furthered by the announcement of a new Chief Executive Officer last month. Eddie Wilson took over as the airline’s CEO, replacing Michael O’Leary, who was promoted to be the group’s chief.

The airline rescheduled their A321LR debut between Dublin and London Heathrow from 1st November to 1st October 2019. Simple Flying reached out to Ryanair and Aer Lingus regarding the news but had not heard back prior to publication. We will update with any further announcements.