Budget airline EasyJet has announced the launch of two new routes from Belfast to the Channel Islands and to France.
Starting summer 2014, easyJet, Northern Ireland’s largest airline, will introduce new flights to Jersey in the Channel Islands and Bordeaux in south west France. There is currently no direct flight from Northern Ireland to the Channel Islands. Seats for both routes go on sale next month.
The announcement marks the carrier’s 15th anniversary at Belfast International Airport (BIA) on September 9. Besides announcing the two new routes, easyJet staged a water arch salute for arriving aircraft as part of its celebrations.
‘Since we launched our first flight to Belfast in 1998 over 32 million people have chosen to fly with us,’ said Ali Gayward, the airline’s head in Northern Ireland, adding: ‘Belfast was one of our first bases outside Luton and we look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries here.’
According to John Doran, BIA managing director, the no-frills airline carries more passengers into and out of Northern Ireland than any other.
‘One of the main reasons for their success is that easyJet provides low fares to the destinations to which both business and leisure passengers want to travel,’ Doran said.
‘It was not uncommon in the mid-90s to be charged fares of over GBP300 to travel between Northern Ireland and significant UK cities such as Edinburgh, Liverpool and Bristol. EasyJet singularly changed all of that, as well as adding direct access to European cities from Belfast, and for that alone the Northern Ireland public owe them a huge debt of gratitude,’ he added.
Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast, said: ‘In continually investing in its services from Belfast International Airport, easyJet has played a pivotal role in assisting us in our strategic efforts to drive this tourism growth over this period and I would like to pay tribute to its longstanding commitment to Belfast and for its contribution to the city’s tourism success.
We wish easyJet continued success and we look forward to greeting thousands more visitors over the years to come.’
EasyJet has six aircraft based permanently at Belfast International Airport and employs over 200 crew and pilots there. More than three million people fly to and from the Belfast hub with easyJet annually.