Published on September 14th, 2019 | by Mark Dwyer0
Aer Lingus and Ryanair Cut Routes from Belfast
Aer Lingus has announced it will discontinue its services from Belfast City Airport to Faro and Malaga for Summer 2020. Those services has been sub-contracted ASL Airlines Ireland since mid-2018 which operated Boeing 737-31S EI-STA on the route.
An Aer Lingus spokesperson said “The decision was made following a commercial review which determined that the routes were not performing in line with expectations. In 2020 Aer Lingus will continue to deliver a high frequency daily service between Belfast City and London Heathrow.
“In summer 2019 Aer Lingus increased frequencies on the route to 4 times daily on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.”
Meanwhile, Ryanair appear to be closing their Belfast International Airport base from 3rd November. The base has one aircraft (currently EI-EFI according to FR24). According to the airlines website, it is not possible to make bookings on routes to Berlin, Malta, Gdansk, Warsaw Modlin, Wroclaw, Faro, Girona, Lanzarote and Manchester after 3rd November. Flights will continue to Krakow, Alicante, Malaga, Tenerife South, Stansted and Bergamo using aircraft from other bases. Some flights may also be operated by Ryanair subsidiaries including Ryanair UK (for internal UK flights in the event of a hard Brexit), Buzz (Poland) or Malta Air.
In a statement, Belfast International Airport said: “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. 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.”
“By failing to remove the competitive barrier that is APD, the government is denying Northern Ireland passengers destination choice and an air travel sector that offers considerable potential. There remains a strong market demand for direct air services to those destinations which will no longer be served by Ryanair. We have already secured some additional capacity to the Canary Islands and will continue to work with our airline partners to replace lost services.”
Belfast International Airport voted worst Airport in the UK
Long queues, crowded terminals and pricey parking charges have led to Belfast International being rated the UK’s worst airport in a survey by consumer magazine Which?. Customers gave the airport an approval score of 42%, saying it was “shabby”, “understaffed” and had a poor layout. It came just behind London Luton on 43% and Manchester T3 on 47%.