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Flights to Orlando and Las Vegas from Northern Ireland unveiled


Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World, one of the key attractions of Orlando

Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World, one of the key attractions of Orlando

Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World, one of the key attractions of Orlando

Three one-off flights have been announced from Northern Ireland to the popular US destinations of Orlando in Florida and Las Vegas in Nevada.

The trips will take off from Belfast International Airport next summer on board Thomas Cook Airlines aircraft in a move hailed as "fantastic news".

Orlando-bound holidaymakers will be able to fly from Belfast on June 30 and July 7 for a two-week trip, while a seven-night vacation is being offered to Las Vegas, jetting off on July 5.

The long-haul flights are already on sale, having been laid on in response to customer demand.

The news comes just a day after United Airlines' decision to shelve Northern Ireland's only direct flight to the US for nine weeks next winter.

The service is said to have carried more than 14,000 passengers during the same period this year.

Announcing the one-off summer flights, Christoph Debus, CEO Thomas Cook Airlines, said: "As we expand our long-haul programme, it's fantastic that we are able to work with Belfast International to increase our flights from the airport and look forward to a great summer in 2015."

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Uel Hoey, business development director at Belfast International Airport, added: "The introduction of new long-haul services by Thomas Cook from Belfast International Airport is fantastic news. Local holidaymakers can now fly direct to two of the United States' most amazing destinations, and all from their local airport.

"We are committed to offering travellers as much choice as possible and we believe these flights are a great addition to the growing list of destinations available from the airport."

Dismay has been expressed that the temporary cessation of United's flight between Belfast and Newark will have a considerable effect on a diverse nature of businesses.

Aodhan O'Donnell of the Consumer Council said it was "very disappointed" by the news, adding: "Our figures show that between January 1 and March 31, 2013 there were over 14,000 passenger journeys on this route, so this has the potential to affect many passengers."

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