Ryanair announces new Gdansk, Wroclaw and Warsaw routes from Belfast
Ryanair has announced new routes from Belfast International Airport today - after news of a link-up with Warsaw emerged yesterday.
Gdansk and Wroclaw in the industrial heartlands of Poland are understood to be the next routes to be announced.
The new routes will augment the Irish airline's growing offer at Aldergrove, which already includes Krakow - and could mean four Polish routes by the end of the year.
Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs said:
"We are pleased to launch three new routes from our Belfast base to Gdansk, Warsaw and Wroclaw, as part of our winter 2016 schedule, in addition to the seven new routes announced earlier to Alicante, Berlin, Krakow, Lanzarote, Malaga, Milan and Tenerife, and the extra flights to London Gatwick."
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary announced in March he was adding seven new European routes as part of the low-cost carrier's return to Northern Ireland. And more good news was promised for both the International and Belfast City as they worked hard to woo new airlines at the Routes Europe conference this week.
Yesterday Graham Keddie, Belfast International's managing director, hinted at exciting times for the region's main airport with the tweet 'Just had a great email with more good news' along with the hashtag #moreroutescoming.
The commercial optimism was shared by Belfast City. The city is being heavily promoted at Routes Europe in Krakow ahead of the handover of the major business conference. It is to be hosted in Belfast next year.
City Airport commercial and marketing director Katy Best told the Belfast Telegraph that the airport expected to by flying a quarter of a million extra customers by the summer of 2017 due to new routes.
And she confirmed that the airport had been talking to four airlines and was in "final stages talks" with several more on confirming new routes from the City.
"We have had a very successful few days at Routes Europe in Krakow, meeting with existing and potential new airlines," said Ms Best.
"Belfast is very much on the radar of airlines from outside the UK and I believe the discussions we have had this week will progress at pace and am hopeful we will see the arrival of new routes and airlines in the near future."
Warsaw was the second Polish route for Ryanair, as it had already announced Krakow as one of its seven new routes from Aldergrove.
The Warsaw route was announced unexpectedly by a delighted Warsaw Airport management on its Twitter feed and quickly confirmed by Ryanair.
The Polish routes are expected to strengthen the growing business and cultural ties with Northern Ireland. Grafton Recruitment has six offices throughout Poland, while IT firm Kainos has a large office in Gdansk.
A Grafton spokeswoman said: "The new route will encourage talent mobility between Warsaw and Belfast for specialist niche skills."
Polish national Eva Grossman said several Northern Ireland companies would benefit directly from employees being able to fly into the country's capital.
"Kainos and Delta Packaging have already established bases close to Warsaw and this new route will definitely further help economically and culturally."