Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Airline expansion to create jobs

Jet2 is to fly new routes from Belfast
Jet2 is to fly new routes from Belfast

Airline Jet2 is creating almost 90 jobs at Belfast International Airport as it announced four new routes from its Northern Ireland base.

The carrier will start flying to Prague, Rome, Gran Canaria and Zante next year.

The 86 jobs incorporate positions as flight and cabin crew, engineers and ground operations staff.

Jet2 said it was also adding a third dedicated aircraft to its Belfast operations.

Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: "In our 10th year of flying from Belfast International Airport we are thrilled to be announcing major growth plans for summer 2015."

The expansion has been backed by the Stormont Executive's business support agency, Invest NI, which has contributed £195,000 to help create the 39 new ground staff jobs.

Under EU State Aid guidelines the 47 air crew jobs cannot be financially supported by government.

But Invest NI said without its support for the ground staff posts, all 86 jobs would not have come to Northern Ireland.

Mr Heapy added: "Since our first flight took off we've not only increased capacity but we have also grown our destinations from two to 16.

"Our city break offering continues to expand with the introduction of Prague and Rome, plus the addition of Gran Canaria means holidaymakers now have a trio of Canary Island gems to choose from. What's more we have introduced our first Greek hotspot - the stunning Island of Zante.

"These developments really demonstrate our ongoing commitment to providing our loyal local customers with unrivalled choice and flexibility when it comes to planning their next well earned break. With our fantastic range of destinations, coupled with great flight times and award winning customer service, we are confident we have the right mix to cement our position as one of the leading leisure operators at Belfast International Airport."

Uel Hoey, business development director at Belfast International Airport, added: "This very welcome announcement is the best way for Jet2.com and Jet2holidays to celebrate 10 years of flying from Belfast International Airport. This major expansion reinforces the airline's belief in Northern Ireland."

Stormont junior minister and Assembly member Jonathan Bell said the investment was "great news" for Northern Ireland.

"It not only creates new jobs but it also enhances the region's accessibility," he added.

"Northern Ireland's airports are gateways for tourism and business activity and air travel plays a central role in economic development. These new jobs will contribute £2.2 million annually in salaries."

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