Jonathan Bell announced that up to £4million is to be made available over the next three years to support the development of new air routes for Northern Ireland.
Speaking at Belfast International Airport the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister said: “Air connectivity is an important driver for economic growth in Northern Ireland. In following through on my commitment to come forward with a package to support enhanced air connectivity, I am delighted to announce up to £4 million of additional support available over a three year period.
“This funding will be provided through enhanced co-operative marketing and will be specifically for the development of un-served routes with a high potential for inbound tourism and business.
"Northern Ireland’s air passenger numbers are growing which is excellent news for the industry. From an economic development perspective I want to ensure we maximise the business opportunities through connectivity to strategic destinations and ensure we can attract visitors into Northern Ireland to experience our world class tourist offering.
"I believe Northern Ireland would benefit economically from greater connectivity to a range of un-served short haul destinations within Europe, as well as greater long haul connectivity to Canada and the Middle East.”
The Minister added: “Officials in my department are working with Invest Northern Ireland and Tourism Ireland on the detailed process for airlines to make proposals for additional support and this will be confirmed to them in the near future.”