Aer Lingus/Stobart routes and base announcement is welcome boost for Belfast City Airport but must translate into the retention of skilled and experienced former airport workers

Stormont must now act to protect jobs and skills, and regional connectivity, by securing a bespoke package for Northern Ireland  

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer for workers at Belfast City Airport welcomed the announcement by Aer Lingus that they would be operating six new routes from the airport in coming months.

“Today’s announcement by Aer Lingus/Stobart Air of plans for six new domestic connections from Belfast City will come as a very welcome boost for our members at the airport and raises hopes for a future. The collapse of Flybe, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, resulted in the catastrophic loss of 85 percent of flights and denied the airport of vital income for overnight parking and rental from the airline’s base. We are therefore particularly happy that Aer Lingus/Stobart Air has confirmed that they will base a number of aircraft at the airport.

“Flybe workers who have been out of work since the collapse are skilled and experienced and available to take up employment opportunities under any recruitment drive.

“Despite today’s good news, our vital aviation sector remains in crisis. Stormont needs to act on the promises made by the government in Westminster to protect jobs and skills, and regional connectivity, by securing a bespoke package for Northern Ireland.

“Today’s announcement provides us with a lifeline – we now need to see follow-up by the Executive to ensure that it translates into the beginning of a recovery of Northern Ireland’s aviation sector – a sector which provides thousands of decent, unionised jobs and which generates an estimated £250 million a year for the Northern Ireland economy”, Mr Brash concluded.

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