British Airways is to drop its flights from Belfast City Airport to Heathrow.
From next week, the route will be operated by Aer Lingus.
Belfast City Airport said the British Airways pull-out was a temporary measure during the current coronavirus crisis.
“We understand this is a temporary suspension of the British Airways service to London Heathrow which comes as a result of the airline’s review of its short haul network across various markets due to the Covid-19 outbreak,” a spokesperson for Belfast City Airport said.
“The Belfast-Heathrow route remains an important service within the British Airways network and to the local economy.
“We fully expect the airline to restore capacity as and when demand returns and Government legislation allows.
“Aer Lingus continues to operate a five-times-weekly service to London Heathrow to facilitate essential travel for key workers.”
Both British Airways (BA) and Aer Lingus are owned by the same company, International Airlines Group (IAG).
It’s understood there will be five flights per week between the Belfast and London airports.
A British Airways spokesman said: “Aer Lingus — which is part of IAG — will continue flying between Heathrow and Belfast, ensuring that a vital route remains open.”
Aer Lingus will honour any bookings which have already been made for BA flights to Heathrow.
A spokesperson for the Irish airline said: “Aer Lingus continues to operate flights between Belfast City Airport and London Heathrow, using local crews based in Belfast.”
The London-Heathrow route is now the only flight in and out of Belfast City Airport which is still operating.
In another Belfast City Airport-related development, Translink, Northern Ireland’s public transport utility, said that its Metro 600 services to and from the airport would not be operating “until further notice”.
Ulsterbus services 3200 and 300a to the airport have also ceased.
The news comes amid fears Northern Ireland’s links to the rest of the UK could be seriously damaged by the coronavirus lockdown and its consequence for business and industry.
Last week, it was learned that no passenger flights are now operating from Belfast International Airport.
Veteran UUP Councillor Jim Rodgers described the news as "very disappointing".
“I will be doing all I can to ensure this is just a temporary measure as a result of coronavirus," he said.
“What we can’t have is a situation where these flights do not resume when restrictions on travel are lifted.
”It's a vitally important business route for the Northern Ireland economy. We have already seen Aer Lingus reduce the number of flights to London from the City Airport and we cannot have a situation where Northern Ireland is completely cut off from the capital.
"We really need to keep a close eye on the number of flights as there is always a fear they will not resume when this crisis is over.”