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Aircoach cancels Belfast-Dublin service

A coach company has suspended its route between Belfast to Dublin Airport after six years of operation.

Aircoach yesterday confirmed it was ending the route, which runs 10 return services daily.

A spokesman said it was consulting its 11 drivers to decide their options "which will either be possible alternative employment within Aircoach's operation or redundancy".

The last day of the run will be October 29.

Aircoach's blue coaches have been a familiar sight on the roads between Belfast and Dublin.

The company spokesman said customers who had booked online for travel dates after October 29 would be entitled to a refund.

Aircoach was founded in 1999 by Irish entrepreneur John O'Sullivan to bring passengers to Dublin Airport, breaking the Dublin Bus monopoly on the route.

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Aircoach is now owned by Aberdeen-based bus company FirstGroup.

It has faced falling passenger numbers on the route as a result of growing competition from Translink - while improvements to the Belfast to Dublin road have made it more attractive for motorists to drive.

Meanwhile, FirstGroup founder Sir Moir Lockhead has announced plans to step down from his role as chief executive after 21 years with the company.

He will be succeeded by former London Underground boss Tim O'Toole.