Price war good news for Ulster fliers
Published 16/10/2007 | 07:32
Air passengers are set to benefit from an unprecedented airline price war brought about by the explosion in international routes from Northern Ireland.
With Easyjet introducing new routes - and Aer Lingus and Ryanair about to start operating from Belfast airports - choice and value for the local air traveller has never been better.
When the two Dublin-based carriers come to Belfast, they will find themselves competing in a market that already offers flights to over 50 destinations in 36 different countries.
Aer Lingus, for instance, will be up against both Easyjet and Jet2 on the popular Barcelona and Malaga routes as it attempts to get a foothold at its new Belfast International hub.
Passengers can currently book a return flight to Barcelona, taxes included, for under £50.
With three different airlines competing for this and other routes, these prices look set to plummet further.
"Passengers here have never had it so good in terms of the range of destinations available," said Eddie Lynch, head of consumer affairs at The Consumer Council.
"Three years ago we had one route to continental Europe, now there are more than 30 - and more to come.
"And Ulster folk can now fly direct to North America, which saves passengers having to travel to Dublin or airports in Great Britain."
In coming weeks Easyjet and Jet2 will introduce seven new continental routes between them, while Ryanair and Aer Lingus will attempt to force their way into an already crowded market by offering 13 new routes from the two Belfast airports.
Over the next few months a series of exotic locations - including Las Vegas, Budapest, Gdansk and Venice - will begin appearing on the departures boards for the first times.