Low Cost Airlines Winning Battle with Ferries

Recent CAA figures show a huge increase in the number of passengers flying from Scotland to Northern Ireland, while ferry numbers fall.

In the first four months of this year, the number of passengers on all airlines flying between Glasgow and Belfast was 250% higher than the same period last year. For Edinburgh to Belfast, the figures were even higher at 275%.

By contrast the numbers using the ferry to Northern Ireland fell by 5% in 2001 compared to the previous year - at a time when passenger numbers of all other UK domestic ferry services were increasing.

`People are sick of the ferry,` said Yvonne Work, Go`s Scottish Sales manager. `If you want to pop across for a short break it isn`t worth the time and money.`

Low cost airlines have also been capturing passengers from BA CitiExpress, which until just over a year ago was the only airline flying between Belfast and Glasgow and Edinburgh. Now more than nine out of ten air passengers between Scotland and Northern Ireland fly with low cost airlines, according to CAA figures.


`The figures show how the arrival of low cost airlines like Go have boosted numbers,` explained Work. `More people from Northern Ireland are taking advantage of our one way fares to Belfast that start from £10.35 including all taxes. We are attracting people who would never have considered flying before because of the very high fares and who are put off the ferry because of the time it takes.`

`Why pay over £200 return to bounce around in a turboprop when you can fly in comfort in a Go 737 for less than the price of a meal out,` added Work.