Bmibaby off to flying start with Belfast to Stansted service
The first of a new series of flights from Belfast to London Stansted will take off today.
Low-cost airline bmibaby, which is part of the British Midland International (bmi) group, will operate up to 16 flights a week with up to three flights a day from George Best Belfast City Airport to the Hertfordshire airport.
The carrier announced the new service in December, shortly after budget carrier Ryanair pulled out of the airport in a row over a runway extension.
Bmibaby said the new route would provide inbound business customers with increased access to the City of London and Canary Wharf, as well as high-tech industries around Cambridge and direct access to the east of England.
Julian Carr, managing director of bmibaby, welcomed the first flight.
"Today is the start of our new service from Belfast City Airport to London Stansted," he said.
"We are the only low-cost carrier to operate this route and provide convenient flight times and a high-frequency service to Stansted Airport.
"This is our first route to London from Belfast City Airport and we look forward to offering the people of the region this new route that will complement our services to the UK regions," said Carr.
In December 2010, bmibaby announced it was to move operations from Belfast International Airport to George Best Belfast City, and would be taking up the route to Stansted as well as other connections to Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and East Midlands.
Some of those routes had been discontinued after Michael O'Leary announced the withdrawal of no-frills airline Ryanair from Belfast City Airport in October 2010 after plans for a runway extension stalled due to delays in the planning process.
At the time, bmibaby's move sparked outrage from rivals Flybe, which flies from Belfast City to 17 UK routes, including East Midlands, Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester.