EasyJet has ‘further expansion’ plans for Belfast operation

Budget airline to add another jet as Ryanair stops flights to Gatwick for four months

EasyJet said it would locate its sixth aircraft, an A320, at its Northern Ireland base at Belfast International Airport (BIA) from next June. File photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

EasyJet said it would locate its sixth aircraft, an A320, at its Northern Ireland base at Belfast International Airport (BIA) from next June. File photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

 

The budget airline easyJet has confirmed plans to expand its Belfast operation and invest in another plane at its base in the North from next year – just 24 hours after rival Ryanair grounded one of its routes for four months.

EasyJet said it would locate its sixth aircraft, an A320, at its Northern Ireland base at Belfast International Airport (BIA) from next June.

It plans to locate the passenger jet permanently in Belfast throughout the year.

The additional investment has been warmly welcomed by the airport’s management after Ryanair confirmed on Wednesday that it would suspend all flights between Belfast and London Gatwick from November 2017-March 2018.

In contrast its rival easyJet said its “further expansion” plans for Belfast demonstrate its long-term commitment to the North.

It has highlighted that it operates more than 32 flights per day between Belfast and London and said it had already added more than 6,000 seats to the route this winter.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK commercial manager, said: “The addition of another aircraft will help us to deliver long-term, sustainable growth at the base providing passengers with a greater range of destinations, all with low fares and great service.

“EasyJet is the largest airline in Northern Ireland and we have been committed to Belfast airport for over 19 years. We are proud to have carried over 50 million passengers in that time,” Ms Gayward said.

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