Plans afoot for a local N.I. -based, budget airline to fly from Belfast and Dublin to Continental Europe. Can only be good as they say travel broadens the mind!
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Ulster’s own airline set for take-off next year
By Nigel Tilson
15 August 2005
A group of Ulster entrepreneurs is hatching plans to launch a new airline that will be based in Northern Ireland, The Belfast Telegraph has learned.
Sources close to the group said it has secured financial backing for the project and its services will take off next summer.
It is understood the airline will offer flights from both Belfast and Dublin to destinations throughout Europe.
The group is believed to have signed a memorandum of understanding with an aircraft company for the provision of aircraft.
Sources said the individual entrepreneurs involved have signed a confidentiality agreement which does not allow any of them to go public on the group’s plans until schedules are firmed up.
It is understood the airline will pitch its services at the no-frills market which is currently dominated by easyJet in Northern Ireland.
EasyJet now has five aircraft based at Belfast International Airport where it currently operates nine scheduled services to Britain and 10 to destinations on the continent.
Sources said the airline would be based in Belfast, but the entrepreneurs have not decided which of Belfast’s two airports will be its home.
It is likely to be based at Belfast International, which has embraced no-frills services, rather than Belfast City, which largely concentrates on full service flights.
However, Belfast City is the base for low cost airline Flybe, which last week revealed that 111,529 passengers flew with it to and from the city in June.
Belfast International seems a more likely destination for its home at present because the City Airport is currently subject to stiff traffic restrictions, including a passenger limit of 1.5 million outbound and 1.5 million inbound, although this is currently under review.
Total passenger numbers at Belfast International were 4.5 million last year and are