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Returning: Eastern Airways

Returning: Eastern Airways

Returning: Eastern Airways

Eastern Airways has announced its return to Northern Ireland with a six-times weekly service from George Best Belfast City Airport to the north east of England.

The new route to Teesside International Airport will start on March 9.

Eastern Airways formerly ran a link from Belfast to the Isle of Man for around a year from 2017.

Katy Best, commercial director at the airport, said: "Improving connectivity to and from Northern Ireland is of the utmost importance to the region and we welcome the return of Eastern Airways, a sixth airline partner at Belfast City Airport."

The airport had been under pressure following financial difficulties at Flybe, which accounts for around 80% of flights out of the airport.

However, Flybe was rescued following an agreement with the Government to put off the payment of air passenger duty. The airport last week denied that it would have to close if Flybe had folded.

The denial came after Tory MP Tobias Ellwood named Belfast City and Southampton airports as possible candidates for closure if the ailing regional airline collapsed.

But the Belfast airport said it was confident Flybe would "provide a long-term, sustainable network to and from Northern Ireland".

In addition to Belfast City Airport, Eastern Airways has announced it will operate services to Dublin, London City, Cardiff and Southampton from Teesside Airport.

The airline will also operate a seasonal service between Teesside and the Isle of Man and increase the number of flights to Aberdeen.

Tony Burgess, managing director of Eastern Airways, said: "We're delighted to now be strengthening our ties with the airport and branching out to bring enhanced connectivity to some new city destinations for business and leisure travellers.

"I'm sure these flights will be popular and we continue to look at how we can further develop our network for all regions."

Aviation, energy and civil engineering group Stobart was announced as the operator of Teesside International in 2019.

Stobart Aviation's Kate Willard said: "These major new routes are great news for the airport, its existing passengers and people across Tees Valley.

"It is very exciting that people can now enjoy the airport's quick and easy passenger experience to reach even more destinations.

"We believe that there is tremendous opportunity for continued growth at Teesside International and Stobart continues to be committed to its success," she added.

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