NI, USA and our part-time airline service @united

“Hello, I’m Jeff Smisek,” anyone who has flown on our Belfast-Newark service has been greeted by the dulcet tones of Mr Smisek, Chief Executive of United Airlines as he welcomes you on board. If like me you actually pay attention to these cheesy videos and use this route regularly, you will be a bit disappointed as the decision has been taken to halt flights between Belfast and Newark from January 6 to March 11th was announced yesterday.

The airline has carried over 830,000 people on the route since its inauguration in 2005 and is currently one of the most popular from Northern Ireland.  In fact, less than a month ago United’s Managing Director of sales in the UK and Ireland, Bob Schumacher said

We are pleased with the success of our Belfast-New York/Newark service and thank our customers for their support over the past nine years.  As the only trans-Atlantic carrier serving Belfast United offers customers a convenient way of flying direct to New York, with onward connections to over 300 destinations across the Americas.

Normally this is an issue that I would normally whack the Executive over, but in fairness to them, they have taken steps to placate the cost issue for United cutting the  Air Passenger Duty in 2011.

So, is this just part of an incremental exit for United from Aldergrove? Should we just give up the ghost on transatlantic and see Dublin as our third airport?

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  • sergiogiorgio

    Seems a complete UA roll back – Dublin, Manchester and Rome are seeing the same. It surprises me as the flight is always packed. An outbound Monday and inbound Friday would certainly seem to be workable for the business and holiday traffic. Come on Jeff, do us a solid, and get the route back up year round. Think he checks Slugger?

  • David McCann

    All the best people Slugger 😉

  • Gopher

    It is something to whack the executive with they have not improved any of the infrastructure round our airports or the airports themselves .They have not lengthened the City runway they have not cut passenger duty on short haul flights and they have not supplied the airports with rail connections. Airports round the world now you can check your bags in the rail station in town. There is no reason why Belfast cannot compete with Dublin as an entry point to Ireland except that the executive are to useless to do anything about it.

    Dublin is not our third airport it is our first airport Flights to the Emirates, Multiple Trans Atlantic and European destinations. Everyone you hear going to Vegas or Florida now flies Dublin to Gatwick to pick up a Virgin Flight.

  • cynic2

    Why is the Executive’s job to lengthen the runways at two privately owned airports?

  • Gopher

    They handle the planing, Ryan Air pulled out because the executive dragged its feet. The Question of one job, who will be MP of East Belfast takes precedent over creating many airport jobs

  • Celtlaw

    Another reason to build a dual-carriageway A5 from the border to Derry. Better connections between the Foyle and DUB airport.