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Aer Lingus begin flights from new Belfast base

12th December 2007 Print
Aer Lingus began operations from its new Belfast base today putting the seal on a €150 million (Sterling £100 million) investment announced in August. Three A320 aircraft will be based at Belfast International Airport, flying to nine European destinations and supporting up to 100 direct jobs as well as around 500 indirect posts in the first year.

The airline expects to carry more than half-a-million passengers in the initial 12 months of operations.

Flights began today to Amsterdam and Barcelona. Tomorrow sees the launch of flying to Geneva and on January 14 flights to London Heathrow will begin, bringing a competitor onto this route for the first time in several years and giving Northern Ireland travellers an opportunity to link up with the global British Airways network through the two airlines' code-share arrangements.

Aer Lingus Chief Executive, Dermot Mannion, said: "This day marks a new era in flying both for the people of Northern Ireland and Aer Lingus."

"Our investment in three aircraft and 100 jobs in our first base outside the Republic signals our firm intent to develop new markets as the company continues to grow and serve an expanding route network."

"We are committed to delivering a combination of low fares and high-value service, something we believe the people of Northern Ireland, and indeed those living in the northern half of this island, will appreciate."

As well as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Geneva and London Heathrow, flights to Budapest, Malaga, Rome, Faro and Nice will begin before the spring.

"The crews are in place, the airport staff have been appointed and we are delighted that our operations director, Dick Butler, will take his place as the new base manager," said Mr Mannion. "He will work alongside our new Sales Manager Ireland, Valerie Ward, completing an exciting team ready to tackle what is a challenging marketplace.

"We believe we have the right mix of routes and fares, all available at, that will appeal to the Northern Ireland traveller and we look forward to welcoming them on board."