Belfast Telegraph

Low-cost airline reveals new Manchester route

By Margaret Canning

Budget airline easyJet has announced a new Belfast to Manchester route - and has also shifted a London route away from the City Airport.

The airline yesterday announced it was returning its Luton route from the City Airport to Belfast International after a year's trial.

A new Manchester flight, with fares starting at £23.99 plus taxes, will start from Belfast International on October 31, though flights go on sale this week from easyJet.com.

Rival low-cost airlines bmibaby and Flybe already operate Manchester routes from Belfast City.

EasyJet commercial manager Ali Gayward said: "We believe it is a very good time to introduce the Manchester route.

"The city is increasingly becoming an important business centre, and with weekday flights from 7.20pm, people will be able to complete a full day's work on arrival in Manchester.

"We will also be providing business people in the North West of England with cost-effective and flexible access to Belfast.

"More people are now going to Manchester on short breaks and, of course, many football fans will be heading there for big matches, particularly at weekends."

Meanwhile, the Luton route will start afresh from Belfast International Airport on May 6th - the reverse of a bmibaby decision last year to leave the International Airport to join sister airline British Midland International (bmi) at Belfast City.

Ms Gayward said: "Moving to Belfast City Airport was always a trial, but in over a year we have seen no tangible benefits.

"Our 20 other routes operate from Belfast International and we will now consolidate our overall operation by re-establishing our Luton flights from there as well.

"Luton is a popular route for both business and leisure travellers, and dovetails well with our other London area services from Belfast International to Stansted and Gatwick.

"Our same high standards of service will continue to be a priority and will ensure that easyJet retains its position as Northern Ireland's favourite airline."

Uel Hoey, business development director at Belfast International, welcomed easyJet's announcement:

"Together with the return of the easyJet Luton service and ongoing evaluations in respect of other key domestic and international routes, these are truly exciting times for the airport."

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