Northern Ireland

United Airlines to suspend flights to New York from Belfast

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Media captionBelfast International Airport said it was "disappointed" by the decision by United Airlines

United Airlines will temporarily suspend flights from Belfast to New York in the early part of next year.

The route between Belfast International Airport and Newark is the only direct link between Northern Ireland and the United States.

The route will not operate between 6 January 2015 and 11 March 2015.

Belfast International Airport said they were "naturally disappointed" by the decision.

The direct flight between Belfast and New York first began operating 10 years ago.

A statement from Belfast International said: "We have been kept fully informed by United, who assure us it is their intention to resume normal service on the Belfast-Newark route from 11 March.

"Taken in the round, this is a successful route for United but performance is not traditionally as strong in the first couple of months of the year.

"United have contributed massively to the Northern Ireland economy over the past decade and we know it will continue to provide a vital link for business, and support continuing efforts to attract inward investment, for the remainder of 2014 and over the New Year period, and again when the service returns in March 2015."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the route was an "important service for the Northern Ireland economy".

She added: "While today's announcement by United of a temporary suspension during what is a quiet travel time from January to March is disappointing, the company has given an assurance that the route is secure.

"My department will continue to work with the airport and airline to maximise the long-term performance of this route."

Earlier, United Airlines also announced it will suspend some transatlantic flights from Dublin, Rome and Manchester in the same period.

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