Ryanair has announced that it will stop all flights to and from Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport, further reducing connectivity between Northern Ireland (and the rest of Europe).
The airline blamed the lack of Covid recovery incentives and government passenger duty for the failure to provide any incentive.
This winter Ryanair will stop operations from Belfast City and Belfast International airports due to refusals by the UK to reduce or suspend APD [air passenger duty] and lack of Covid recovery incentives. These aircraft will then be transferred to lower-cost UK and European airports for the winter schedule which begins in November.
It will suspend flights from Belfast international to six destinations Alicante Krakw Krakw Gdansk Warsaw Milan and Krakw by October 30.
It will also stop eight services between City airport and Alicante, Barcelona Faro, Ibiza Mallorca, Mlaga Milan, Valencia, Faro, Faro, Ibiza on the 12th of September.
This decision comes at an extremely difficult time for the airline industry. It highlights the fragility in international connections to Northern Ireland as it tries to attract foreign investment in its post-Brexit business environment by offering local businesses access to the UK single market and the UK.
Stobart Air was shut down in June. Services linking Belfast City Airport with Birmingham, East Midlands and Exeter airports were cancelled.
Ryanair flew out of Derry airport in the beginning of this year. They only resumed flights to Belfast City Airport in June after an 11-year absence.
It was meant to fill the gap left behind by FlyBe which went bankrupt last year.
Belfast International Airport stated: It is disappointing Ryanair has decided to stop operations in the entire Northern Ireland market at October 31st. They had previously been present in three local airports over the past few years.
Sinad McLaughlin, spokesperson for the Labour and Social Democratic party economies, said that it was a major blow to both airports. She stated that she had repeatedly pleaded with Stormont executives to provide sufficient support for the industry since our airports were in dire straits before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Belfast International stated that it hopes to attract other carriers. It has been engaging with existing and new airlines to ensure continuity on routes to be vacated Ryanair.
A spokesperson said that it was a difficult time for aviation, and that consumers need to have faith in the Northern Ireland air transport system.
It stated that London would still have easyJet service, which flies from Gatwick to Stansted.