DALLAS — Low-cost carrier easyJet (U2) has announced that it has added 140,000 additional seats from Northern Ireland and Scotland or Belfast, Aberdeen, Glasglow, and Edingburg amid the collapse of Flybe.
These additional seats will be on routes from Belfast International Airport (BFS) and Belfast City Airport (BHD) to London Luton Airport (LTN), London Gatwick Airport (LGW), Edinburgh Airport (EDI), Glasgow Airport (GLA), and Manchester Airport (MAN). Not only is U2 Northern Ireland’s largest airline, but it also offers the most seats on domestic flights within the United Kingdom.
Following the collapse of Flybe, in June U2 will start two year-round flights between BHD to MAN and LTN. Flybe previously operated flights between BHD and MAN. The inaugural flight to MAN and LTN is scheduled for June 26, 2023, and will operate year-round on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
With the additional routes, U2 serves six domestic destinations from BHD, including Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton, and Manchester. In 2010, easyJet began flights between BHD and LTN and stopped service from BHD a year later in 2011. Since U2 relaunched flights from BHD in 2021 after a 10-year hiatus, the low-cost carrier has expanded its presence at the airport. It is now the second biggest carrier in Belfast City.
The increased service from BHD follows the collapse of Flybe and the loss of Aer Lingus (EI). In December 2022, EI closed its base at BHD after 15 years because of Brexit-related regulatory changes for European Union-based airlines operating domestic flights in the United Kingdom. Both EI and Flybe operated flights from BHD to the UK’s largest airport, London Heathrow (LHR).
Now, Aer Lingus Regional, which is operated by Emerald Airlines under a ten-year agreement, is the biggest carrier at BHD and serves 13 routes from the airport. The airline announced that starting in June, it will station an aircraft in BHD overnight for a new 7:00 AM flight to LGW.
Belfast International Airport will also see an increase from easyJet as the eight Airbus A320 family aircraft arrive at BFS for the busy summer season. In preparation for a busy summer season, the airline has launched two new routes from its Belfast hub to the Turkish capital Antalya and to the Greek island of Rhodes. Now easyJet offers nonstop flights to 30 destinations across nine countries from its base in Belfast.
The low-cost carrier began operations in 1995, and three years later, in 1998, the airline started flights to Northern Ireland. Since then, U2 has become Northern Ireland’s largest carrier. In February, the airline celebrated flying 70 million passengers from BFS.
Comments from easyJet, BHD Officials
EasyJet’s UK Country Manager, Ali Gayward, commented, “We know how important it is to support UK connectivity so people can visit friends and loved ones, do business, and explore more of what the UK has to offer, so we are delighted to be providing customers with even more direct and convenient domestic connections that we know will prove popular for business and leisure travelers alike, all with great value fares and friendly service.”
Adding, “easyJet offers more seats on UK domestic routes than any other carrier and we’re further strengthening our network from Northern Ireland today, by offering even more seats on key domestic routes and launching two new routes to serve customers traveling between Belfast City and the major hubs of London and Manchester.”
Belfast City Airport Commercial Director Katy Best commented, “The announcement of services to London Luton and Manchester from Belfast City Airport is fantastic news for passengers, coming only six months after easyJet’s last route launch to Glasgow. In the space of 18 months, easyJet has increased its capacity and the number of routes operated to six, which is not only a testament to the strength of our partnership but also showcases our commitment to providing passengers with choice, convenience, and flexibility.”
Featured image: easyJet G-EZOI Airbus A320. Photo: Arturo La Roche/Airways