Belfast International Airport needs to look again at its offering as Dublin soars ahead
Improving the internal transport infrastructure on the island of Ireland has been a major benefit to Dublin airport. For Northern Ireland international travellers, better access to Dublin airport with its increasing range of world-wide connections is deflecting part of the flow of passengers.
Within Northern Ireland there is sufficient demand and competition by airlines for what might be termed the shorter regional routes, such as to the main airports in Great Britain.
Inter-line transfers through London are also a significant factor.
In addition, there is sufficient demand and competition for several holiday charter services.
When the airlines examine the prospects for new air routes, over and above regional or holiday travel, they will try to assess where they can attract large enough numbers of travellers to make a scheduled service pay its way.
Are there numbers of potential passengers travelling for business or because there are family or ethnic relationships which suggest a potentially profitable market?
From Northern Ireland, passenger numbers have sustained some daily scheduled services to Amsterdam and Paris.
However, direct services to Brussels were tried and closed. Other European cities have been and continue to be assessed.
Dublin has developed a full international airport serving the whole island for regional, holiday and international travel. That advantage will remain for the conceivable future.
Logically, an extension to BIA's international services might focus on Canada or additional (less frequent) destinations in the US.
A wider range of less frequent services to more distant tourist destinations must also be in prospect.
BIA has experienced a fall in annual revenue and has reported lower pre-tax profits than were normal during the last decade.
The airport has a large land estate which could serve as a centre for enterprise development.
A new business plan may be a priority for the new owners.