Belfast Airport to Lose Sole Direct U.S. Link
By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
December / January 2017
Northern Ireland is set to lose its only direct flight to the U.S. United Airlines chose to end the Belfast to Newark service, effective from the start of January, citing the route’s “poor financial performance” despite the promise of a multi-million-pound support package from the Northern Ireland Executive in order to secure its continued operation.
“United Airline’s decision will leave visitors and investors with no other option but to travel via the Republic of Ireland, which will heighten the need for clarity on how the border will operate following the U.K.’s departure from the E.U.,” said Roger Pollen of the Federation of Small Businesses. He added that the direct air route had been fundamental because of “the signal it sent about [Northern Ireland’s] role in the international economy.”
“This is a vital link for businesses and losing it will be a body blow,” Belfast International Airport managing director Graham Keddie said. “This is a bad day for the executive and a bad day for Northern Ireland, which is still finding its feet after a generation lost to conflict.” ♦