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Belfast International Airport gets three more flights to Orlando

By Margaret Canning

Belfast International Airport has announced additional flights to Florida over the summer as it continues the fight-back against Dublin Airport.

Thomas Cook Airlines is putting on another three flights to the Sunshine State on June 26, July 3 and September 4 2015 respectively.

It had already announced two flights on June 30 and July 7.

In the case of each departure date, there are return flights a fortnight later.

Graham Keddie, managing director of Belfast International Airport, said, "This expansion of services to Florida will be a big hit with local holidaymakers who now have more choice direct from their local airport. "We are delighted that Thomas Cook are continuing to expand in the Northern Ireland holiday market."

The holiday company is also running flights to Cuba and Las Vegas from Belfast International.

There is a flight to Las Vegas this summer, followed by another in November, while a one-off flight to Varadero in Cuba will depart in January next year.

The airport has been fighting hard to regain customer share from Dublin Airport, which has mounted aggressive marketing campaigns to attract northern travellers.

Belfast International has also announced new links to Split in Croatia, and easyJet is already flying from the airport to Reykjavik, Iceland.

Meanwhile, rival Belfast City Airport has announced new flights to Amsterdam and Barcelona, with operators KLM and Vueling respectively.

The Civil Aviation Authority last week revealed passenger figures for Northern Ireland's three airports.

There were 2,555,111 passengers leaving and taking off from Belfast International in 2014 - up 0.2% on the year before.

However, passenger numbers from George Best Belfast City had an even steeper increase of 0.5% to 4,031,700.

But the news from City of Derry Airport was less cheerful, with passenger numbers falling 9% to 350,257.

A spokesman said the figures were "disappointing" but that it hoped to increase numbers in 2015.

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