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Ryanair's O'Leary may move Derry flights to Belfast unless passenger duty is cut

By John Mulgrew

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary says remaining domestic flights from City of Derry airport could be moved to Belfast unless Stormont cuts air passenger duty.

Mr O'Leary said if the Executive had removed the £13 a flight duty, Ryanair would not have cut its City of Derry to Stansted flights.

He says the low cost airline would have added a fourth plane to Belfast if the UK hadn't voted for Brexit.

"We were certainly planning to put a fourth aircraft in to Belfast International. We have been made nervous by Brexit," he said.

Mr O'Leary says the scrapping of APD would be "huge" and could double the number of passengers flying in to Belfast through Ryanair.

"If APD had been scrapped we wouldn't be closing the Derry to Londonderry route," he said.

He believes a combined £16m aimed at boosting City of Derry airport and subsidising the United Belfast to Newark route could be better spent on dealing with the loss of APD.

Speaking about the United route, he said: "They throw more good money after bad."

"That 1.1 million passengers would double to 2 million, just from Ryanair, if APD was scrapped."

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