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Our own publicly-owned air transport service, built in Northern Ireland, could be the answer for North West

letter of the day: derry airport

The catchment area of City of Derry Airport, on both sides of the border, does not have the population to support regular long-haul routes using large, expensive jet-propelled aircraft.

What the North West needs is cheap and conveniently scheduled short-haul connections to other regional centres and to long-haul hubs.

This could be achieved by using smaller, propeller-driven aircraft of various sizes, which are cheaper to build and operate, are more fuel-efficient than jet aircraft and can be built and serviced in Northern Ireland. Some years ago, we had a service between Derry and Glasgow using Belfast-built Short 360 aircraft.

Such short-haul routes operate in Scotland to serve the outer islands, some routes even using seaplanes flying to and from the very centre of Glasgow.

For business trips, small aircraft could connect Derry to London's city-centre airport, thus avoiding the congested and inconveniently sited Stanstead, Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

If none of the smaller airlines is interested in operating to and from Derry, we should set up our own publicly-owned air transport service.

Rather than squandering £9m to subsidise the American United Airlines route between Belfast and New York for the next three years, we should use that money to set up "Londonderry Air".

And let's not make a "derriere" of it by arguing about the name.


Strabane, Co Tyrone

Belfast Telegraph


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