Ryanair is ending all flights at both airports in the Northern Ireland capital due to air passenger duty (APD) and lack of COVID-19 recovery incentives, the Irish carrier announced.
“Due to the [United Kingdom] government’s refusal to suspend or reduce APD, and the lack of Covid recovery incentives from both Belfast airports, this winter, Ryanair will cease operations from Belfast International and Belfast City Airport,” the airline said in a statement quoted by media outlets on Aug. 24.
APD is a tax on passenger flights from UK airports to domestic and international destinations.
Ryanair said that it will stop flights from Belfast City Airport in September and from Belfast International Airport in October.
“These aircraft will be reallocated to lower-cost airports elsewhere in the UK and Europe for the winter schedule, which starts in November,” Ryanair added.
A Belfast International spokesperson said that Ryanair’s withdrawal was “disappointing” but anticipated.
“It has been a difficult period for aviation and a time when consumers need some stability and faith in the Northern Ireland air transport network,” the spokesperson said, as quoted by the media.
The spokesperson further said that they have been “engaging with our existing and other new airlines to provide continuity on the routes to be vacated by Ryanair.”
Social Democratic and Labor Party Economy Spokesperson Sinéad McLaughlin said in a statement that Ryanair’s withdrawal would be a blow to both airports and called for “a proper long-term executive plan” to address the issues faced by airports amid the pandemic.
The announcement comes after Ryanair just resumed flights to Belfast in June after an 11-year absence.
The announcement also comes after Ryanair stopped flying from the City of Derry Airport earlier this year.
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