Heathrow cuts domestic passenger charges by over a third

London Heathrow has announced a discount of £10.00 to domestic passenger charges to support affordable domestic routes starting January 1, 2017- the highest cut ever by the airport.

Scheduled to last up to twenty years, the discount is part of Heathrow’s plan to promote growth outside London by making it cheaper to travel beyond the capital. The new domestic charge of £19.10/passenger is over a third cheaper than 2016.

In September 2016, Heathrow also announced a plan to get UK regions connected to give all of Britain a ‘Brexit boost’. With the move, domestic passengers flying from Heathrow will be able to collectively save nearly £500m over the next 20 years, it said.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: ‘Earlier this year Heathrow promised to do more to help Britain’s economy grow stronger. This morning I’m delighted that we’re able to come good on that promise with our new £10 domestic discount. Putting over £500 million back into the pockets of British families and businesses will help to spur growth in every part of the UK.’

Airlines have already expressed interest in launching services at Heathrow’s cheaper domestic charges. Starting from March, Flybe will start operations from Heathrow for the first time. The UK-based European regional airline will add 40 new weekly flights to Edinburgh and Aberdeen. In addition, Flybe and easyJet have also expressed interest in using the additional capacity to serve additional domestic destinations – including Newquay, Liverpool and Dundee.

Heathrow’s move to discount domestic charges will also reduce pressure on airlines operating existing domestic services by making their routes more commercially attractive, it added.

Ryanair announces 2016 winter schedule at Belfast

Irish low-fares airline Ryanair has launched its Belfast winter 2016 schedule, with seven new routes to Alicante, Berlin, Krakow, Lanzarote, Malaga, Milan and Tenerife.

Ryanair also said that it will increase flights to London Gatwick to five daily, which is expected to deliver over one million customers a year. The new Belfast routes makes Ryanair a choice for Northern Ireland business and leisure travellers, who can now choose from eight Belfast routes during winter 2016.

The new routes will see three weekly flights to and from Alicante, Berlin and Krakow, four weekly flights to and from Malaga, and two flights a week to Milan, as well as to and from Tenerife and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. The fares for Alicante start from £24.99, Berlin and Krakow from £19.99 and Lanzarote from £34.99.

In January, the airline announced plans to re-establish a base at Belfast this month with a thrice daily service to London Gatwick. Next winter, the Irish airline will base three aircraft at Belfast and expects to create 750 jobs at the airport.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: ‘We are pleased to launch our Belfast winter 2016 schedule, which grows to 3 based aircraft, 7 new routes to Alicante, Berlin, Krakow, Lanzarote, Malaga, Milan and Tenerife, as well as extra flights to London Gatwick (5 x daily), and will deliver over 1m customers p.a. and support 750 jobs at our Belfast International base. Our 5 times daily London Gatwick service will be perfect for both business and leisure customers and we look forward to growing routes, traffic and jobs in Belfast in the coming months and years.

‘This large inward investment (over $300m) and new job creation is the latest example of how Northern Ireland benefits from the UK’s membership of the European Union. Low fare air travel, which was pioneered by Ryanair in the UK and Europe, is one of the EU’s great success stories.’

O’Leary further called on Northern Ireland to vote ‘Yes’ in June’s Brexit referendum. ‘We are calling on everyone in Northern Ireland to vote ‘Yes’ to Europe in the Brexit referendum in June, because staying in Europe will mean stronger economic growth, more tourism and more jobs for young people, whereas leaving will reduce the UK to the same status as Norway – namely outside the EU, but part of the single market (for which Norway still pays and still obeys the EU rules), but with no role in setting EU policy or strategy.’