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New airline plans cheap flights from Belfast to North American cities – The Irish Times


A new airline has announced plans to offer cheap transatlantic flights from Belfast beginning in summer 2024.

Fly Atlantic plans to launch low-cost transatlantic, British and European services from Belfast International Airport in a move it claims could create 1,000 jobs and boost Northern Ireland’s tourism businesses.

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The new airline did not say on Monday what destinations it plans to serve. However, it is said to be in talks with key North American cities favoured by European travellers.

Fly Atlantic will begin with six aircraft at Belfast airport, which it says has strong potential as a hub linking Europe and North America.

Andrew Pyne, its chief executive, argued that the lack of direct transatlantic services was hindering the North’s economic and tourism development.

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“The project can be a game changer,” he said. “We will be offering affordable fares with brand new aircraft.”

Mr Pyne added that Belfast International and its owner, European group Vinci, stood out among rivals for their commitment to Fly Atlantic’s plans.

The new airline has not named its investors. It is in talks with manufacturers Airbus and Boeing about supplying aircraft, with Fly Atlantic likely to opt for either the 737 Max or A321.

According to its plans, it will grow the initial six planes based at the airport to eight by 2028.

Once fully operational, it said it would serve 35 destinations and employ 1,000 people. The venture maintains that its operations could create up to 21,000 other jobs indirectly tourism and support businesses by 2030.

Graham Keddie, Belfast International Airport’s managing director, said the plan could have “very real economic benefits” for Northern Ireland.

Mr Pyne noted that Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council also back the plan.

Stephen Ross, the mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, said that boosting the region’s international links was a key part of its economic development strategy.

He dubbed the announcement the “most significant” in recent local aviation history.


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