31/03/2004

Minister announces new air links for Londonderry

Enterprise Minister, Ian Pearson has today announced the introduction of new direct air services between City of Derry airport and Manchester and Birmingham, commencing this summer.

As with the Paris and Nice routes from Belfast announced last week, the new services’ have been made possible as a result of the Air Route Development Scheme, initiated by the Minister last September. The Scheme is administered by Air Route Development (NI) Ltd, an Invest NI company.

The new daily services will be operated by Dublin-based airline Aer Arann and will commence on 7 June 2004.

Mr Pearson said: “I am very pleased that these services have been secured. They will generate welcome revenue for City of Derry Airport and will help to safeguard its future as a gateway to the North-West.

These new routes, coming on top of those announced last week, show we are well on our way to achieving our aim of improving air access to Northern Ireland for the benefit of developing business linkages and inbound tourism.”

Bill McGinnis, an Invest NI Board member who chairs the Board of Air Route Development (NI) Ltd, added: “These new links between the North-West and Manchester and Birmingham, demonstrate Aer Arann’s commitment to City of Derry and we hope that Aer Arann will announce further services out of City of Derry in the future.”

Air Route Development (NI) Ltd is a company set up by Invest NI to administer the Air Route Development Fund.

Aer Arann was founded as an island-hopping service between Galway and the Aran Islands in the 1970s.

It now carries 650,000 passengers a year between 16 UK and Ireland airports.

The new daily City of Derry-Manchester route, will be operated by a 50-seater ATR42 aircraft.

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