Belfast City Airport has secured six routes to Great Britain starting from August 27 under Stobart Air.
The operator will base five aircraft at Belfast City Airport, flying to Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Exeter.
Stobart Air operates 30 Aer Lingus Regional routes from bases in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.
The new routes will be introduced in a phased basis and will culminate in 200 weekly flights to and from Belfast City.
From 27 August, flights from Belfast City to Edinburgh will begin, while services to Exeter will commence on 28 August.
Flights to Manchester and Birmingham will operate from 14 September and to East Midlands and Leeds Bradford from 1 October.
The move will be a welcome boost to the airport which lost many of its routes earlier this year when Flybe went into administration.
Brian Ambrose, chief executive of Belfast City Airport said the new base would significantly enhance the Aer Lingus network, which operates Storbart Air, from Northern Ireland.
“Despite an extremely challenging environment, we’re delighted that Aer Lingus is to establish a new base and significantly enhance its UK network from Belfast City,” he said.
“As an island off an island, air connectivity with the rest of UK is critical to the enabling the Northern Ireland economy’s recovery.
“This announcement is testament to the recent investments by our shareholder in making the airport and its facilities best in class, exceeding passengers’ expectations in a location only five minutes form the centre of Belfast.”
David Shepherd, chief commercial officer at Aer Lingus, said: “Together with our up to three-times-daily service from Belfast City Airport to London, today’s announcement means Aer Lingus / Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air is the largest operator out of Belfast City Airport, ensuring connectivity between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK."
Andy Jolly, managing director at Stobart Air, said: “Working with Belfast City Airport and our partners, Aer Lingus has been part of that journey and we are pleased to establish a base at Belfast City. Through six routes, we are committed to providing essential connectivity between Belfast and rest of the UK, while we will continue to be guided by the official Government guidance.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “Enhancing Northern Ireland’s air connectivity is absolutely vital to our economic wellbeing, in respect of both direct investment and inbound tourism. So today’s announcement by Aer Lingus and George Best Belfast City Airport is very welcome news.
“The routes announced today between the airport and various GB locations have been vacant since earlier this year so it is particularly heartening to see them restored.”
"I welcome this commercial decision by Aer Lingus, which will bring new job opportunities and I am particularly pleased at the scale of the planned operation, with both ground and air staff to be deployed.
“I wish everyone at Aer Lingus and George Best Belfast City Airport the very best as they proceed with this exciting project.”