Ian Pearson MP, NIO Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, today announced the introduction of two new direct air services between Belfast and France, commencing this summer
Ian Pearson MP, NIO Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, today announced the introduction of two new direct air services between Belfast and France, commencing this summer.
The new routes have been made possible as a result of the Air Route Development Scheme, initiated by the Minister last September.
The new routes will be operated by EasyJet and will connect Belfast with both Paris and Nice. The flights to Paris (Charles De Gaulle) will be on a daily basis initially, but have the potential to grow to twice daily. The Nice service is expected to be five times during the summer period, reducing to four times per week in the winter season.
Two further routes to Malaga and Alicante are also being announced today by EasyJet. However, as these are mainly concerned with outbound tourism they do not qualify under the Air Route Development Scheme.
Mr Pearson said: “I am delighted that our route development initiative has borne fruit. It is very good news for Northern Ireland. Improved access to overseas customers and international markets will enhance business competitiveness locally. It is expected that well over two hundred new jobs will be created in the aviation industry locally as a result of this investment, which is also most welcome.”
Commenting on the benefits for tourism, the Minister said:
“The Paris and Nice services will connect Northern Ireland to the two largest conurbations in France. More tourism means more demand in the local market, especially in the hospitality sector. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board working with Tourism Ireland, will seek to capitalise on this further opportunity to attract more business and leisure travellers to our shores. I am confident that we will not only match but exceed the expectations of visitors from France and beyond.”
Chairman of Air Route Development Ltd, Bill McGinnis OBE, said:
“This announcement is good news for both business and leisure travellers in and out of Northern Ireland. Securing an air service connection to Charles de Gaulle has been one of our top priorities. It is a major European hub airport which, on top of the benefits of linking Belfast to Paris, will make it easier for Northern Ireland to connect to long haul destinations around the world. The Nice service is also valuable to Northern Ireland and provides us with the opportunity to grow the existing business and University links with that area.”