Northern Ireland

Isle of Man airline switches Belfast airports

The airline is to move its Northern Ireland operation from Belfast International Airport to its new base at George Best Belfast City Airport at the end of October.

The Isle of Man-founded airline will also introduce a new twice daily service between Belfast and Cork.

It says the move will "more than double" the size of its presence in Northern Ireland.

Last month Ryanair announced it was pulling out of Belfast City Airport.

Ryanair's Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said they had taken the decision because of the delay in holding a public inquiry into a planned runway extension at the airport.

At the time a spokeswoman for the airport said they were confident they could "attract other airlines to fill the void".

Last week, Devon-based airline Flybe announced it was launching three news routes from Belfast City Airport which had previously been provided by Ryanair. currently carries 100,000 passengers a year between the Isle of Man and Belfast, Blackpool, Leeds Bradford, Newcastle, Gloucester and Jersey.

It employs 60 staff and has a fleet of seven aircraft providing up to 30 flights a day.

The Chairman of, Noel Hayes, said the aviation industry had witnessed significant change this year, with many airlines forced to either restructure or go into liquidation.

But he said the changes had presented opportunities for smaller companies like to respond to "fast-moving market dynamics".

"One such dynamic is capitalising and growing our Northern Ireland operation to introduce Belfast City Airport as our key hub.

"Our regular passenger surveys confirm that our commuter routes, such as our new twice daily service to Cork, are very well suited to this airport, where speed of transit through the terminal and fast access to the city centre are seen as key benefits," he said.

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