Ryanair regrets 18 month delay in runway extension at Belfast City Airport
Friday 9, April 2010
Ryanair, the world’s favourite airline, today (8th April) criticised the Northern Ireland Govt for its decision to refer the runway extension at Belfast City Airport to a public inquiry, which will delay this promised runway extension by a further 18 months until early 2012, at the earliest.
Ryanair is concerned that there is now a real possibility that the runway at Belfast City may not be lengthened, if the results of this public inquiry are unsuccessful.
Ryanair confirmed that it was in discussions with Belfast City Airport about 5 new European routes and up to 500,000 extra passengers annually, which would sustain 500 new jobs in and around City Airport. This new investment, new routes and new jobs have now been postponed and possibly lost to Northern Ireland as a result of the Govt’s decision to refer the runway extension to a public inquiry.
Ryanair pointed out that other airports across the UK and Europe were forging ahead with lower cost offers and improved facilities and will now take the aircraft, traffic and jobs that have been lost by Belfast as a result of this 18 month delay in City Airport’s runway extension. Ryanair’s existing services from BCA to London, Glasgow Prestwick, Liverpool, East Midlands and Bristol will continue for the moment, although passenger and baggage numbers continue to be impacted by City Airport’s short runway. The runway extension would allow these restrictions to be lifted, which would enable Ryanair to offer lower fares and more passengers and stimulate inbound traffic and tourism for Northern Ireland.
Speaking in Belfast this morning, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:
“While obviously we respect the decision of the N.I. Govt to refer the runway extension to a public inquiry, this 18 month delay will mean that Belfast have lost out on 5 new routes, 500,000 passengers and up to 500 new jobs here in Northern Ireland. Sadly Belfast City’s loss will now be gained by other Spanish and Italian airports, who are able to offer lower costs and unrestricted airport facilities to capture Ryanair’s growth. We will continue to work with our partners in Belfast City Airport to assist the public inquiry, but want to apologise to the people of Northern Ireland that the low fare access to Continental Europe, which Ryanair’s new routes would have delivered at Belfast City Airport, will now be delayed by at least 18 months.
“In order to show what Belfast citizens (and possible visitors) are losing out on, Ryanair today released 50,000 seats on its 5 Belfast city routes for travel in May and June at a fare of just £5 including taxes and charges. These £5 seats can be purchased today on the Ryanair.com website until midnight Monday 12th April 2010.”
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