GEORGE Best Belfast City Airport has welcomed an announcement by leading European airline Vueling that it is to commence a twice weekly service to Barcelona in May 2015.
The low cost yet full service airline, which is part of Willie Walsh’s International Airlines Group (IAG), has ambitious plans for growth with Belfast City Airport being one of a number of new routes from its Barcelona El Prat base announced today.
The arrival of Vueling to Northern Ireland is a significant opportunity to attract additional inward tourism to the region.
Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive of Belfast City Airport, said:
“It remains our aim to attract new airlines to Northern Ireland and facilitate more direct European routes from Belfast. We are therefore delighted that Vueling has chosen to include Belfast City Airport as one of a select few UK airports in its plans to expand its network.
“The hugely popular European airline, which carries a high percentage of business travellers, has an extensive network with over 100 destinations across Europe including Paris, Brussels, Rome, Madrid and has a growing presence in Russia, North Africa and Scandinavia.
“This is a very exciting opportunity to work with Vueling whose strategy is to partner with airports that have high levels of customer service and are aimed at business travellers.”
The announcement was also welcomed by Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, who said:
“Today’s announcement by Vueling is good news for tourism to Northern Ireland. We look forward to co-operating with Vueling to maximise the promotion of this new service from Barcelona. As an island, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism.
“Tourism Ireland is committed to working with Vueling, Belfast City Airport and other tourism interests, through co-operative marketing, to drive demand for this new service – as we work with other carriers and partners to promote and help maintain vital routes and services to Northern Ireland.”
In August 2013, IAG announced its plans to deploy an additional 120 A320s to Vueling between 2015 and 2020, with the airline expected to be one of Europe’s largest low cost carriers by the end of 2014.