easyJet Announces Further European Expansion
easyJet today announced it is expanding its Northern Ireland operations with a further two NEW direct European services connecting Belfast International Airport with Berlin and Rome.Last month easyJet announced an additional aircraft to its Belfast base to enable three new routes to Geneva, Inverness and Palma (Majorca) which begin operations from 1st July. The airline can now confirm that it will also start services to Berlin Schoenefeld from 1st July 2005 and Rome Ciampino from 2nd July 2005 with fares from just £22.99 one way (£40.98 return including taxes). Seats will be on sale at easyJet.com from today.
The success of easyJet’s direct European services to date has proven the great potential for more flights connecting Northern Ireland with attractive cities throughout Europe. Appealing to both inbound and outbound traffic, the new services are a great benefit for the local economy attracting both business and leisure travellers alike.
Belfast International Airport Ltd received assistance for the new easyJet Berlin and Rome routes from Invest NI subsidiary company Air Route Development (NI) Ltd, which was established by the Government to promote economic development in Northern Ireland through improved air access. The scheme also assisted the airport in the establishment of easyJet’s new services to Geneva, Paris and Nice.
During the last seven months, over 152,000 passengers haven taken advantage of easyJet’s four new direct European routes and the advance sales for Geneva, Inverness and Palma starting this summer have been particularly strong.
The introduction of these new routes will increase the number of aircraft operating through Belfast International Airport to nine, with 84 daily services to a choice of 18 routes. With over three million passengers travelling through the Belfast base in the last 12 months, it has become one of easyJet’s fastest growing bases, and now accounts for 12% of easyJet’s entire network.
Ed Winter, easyJet Chief Operating Officer, said: “easyJet is delighted to be introducing these brand new routes to Berlin and Rome, increasing our total choice of destinations to 18. We now operate nine aircraft from our Belfast base which accounts for 12% of easyJet’s total operation and with three million passengers a year, we are committed to continue being Northern Ireland’s largest low cost airline”
Albert Harrison, Managing Director of Belfast International airport said: “We are thoroughly delighted to welcome a further two international scheduled destinations to the Belfast International Airport route network. It is particularly pleasing to introduce new services to two of Europe’s principal capital cities in previously unserved major markets from Northern Ireland. We now have a network, which offers real opportunity to develop the Northern Ireland economy and we look forward to working with easyJet to develop these and other routes over the coming year.”
Bill McGinnis Chairman of Air Route Development has expressed his delight with the success of the Fund and the prospect of more new air routes for Northern Ireland. “When Air Route Development was launched in September 2003, there was only one scheduled European air service, but now we can truly say that we have a network of air services connecting us to the Continent. The possibilities this offers for local businesses to connect to trading partners in Europe, and for European businesses to invest in Northern Ireland, add up to a tremendous boost for our economy.”