Subsidy for Derry-London direct flights welcomed
Route was previously operated by Ryanair
City of Derry airport is to get subsidy for direct flights to London.
Donegal County Council has welcomed confirmation that the UK Government is going to subsidise direct flights between the City of Derry airport and London and said it is a “positive” development for both Donegal and the north west region.
The UK transport secretary Chris Grayling announced that the UK Government, in partnership with the North’s Department for the Economy, will financially support the service between Derry and Stansted until May 2021.
The route was previously operated by Ryanair who axed the service three years ago and is now operated by flybmi.
The Derry-to-London route is important to the City of Derry Airport, which is owned by Derry City and Strabane District Council.
The council had previously warned that without the London route the airport could potentially not be “sustainable”.
The mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, councillor John Boyle said the airport is an “important regional gateway” for the north-west of Ireland and has welcomed the UK Government’s support.
“We are delighted to retain this important air link with London. We remain committed to ensuing that the City of Derry Airport is the airport of choice for the north-west of Ireland,” Mr Boyle added.
It is estimated that around 40 per cent of the passengers that use the airport each year originate in Donegal.
The chief executive of Donegal County Council, Seamus Neely said the UK Government’s decision to financially support the Derry to London route was an “important step forward in realising the ambition and potential of the North West City Region”.
Mr Neely added: “Donegal County Council has been working in close partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council and various government departments on both sides of the border through the north west strategic growth partnership to drive forward a strategic growth agenda for the region.
“The north west city region of Derry/Letterkenny is the fourth largest urban agglomeration on the island of Ireland and is a region with a unique offering and much potential. The announcement is a positive one for Donegal and indeed the north west city region and will contribute significantly to delivering on the region’s priorities.”