Ryanair withdraws Belfast services
Ryanair is pulling out of Belfast City Airport from October, it was revealed today.
Five routes to London Stansted, Liverpool, East Midlands, Bristol and Glasgow Prestwick will be withdrawn.
Airport spokeswoman Katy Best said she was extremely disappointed.
"Ryanair will cease services from Belfast City Airport on 31 October 2010. Passengers are advised to check with Ryanair for bookings made after that date," she said.
The airline has supported the George Best Belfast City Airport's bid to secure a runway extension at its site in the east of the city.
It has been running on a reduced passenger load since its operations were established in October 2007. There are also restrictions on night-time flying.
A public inquiry was launched into the runway extension after vociferous opposition from local residents. It was suspended earlier this summer.
Ms Best said: "We are obviously disappointed at Ryanair's decision; the airline had provided five successful routes from Belfast City Airport.
"However, passenger figures had proved that there was significant demand for the routes operated by Ryanair and I am confident that we can attract other airlines to fill the void."
Ryanair said 50 jobs would be lost and one million passengers annually as well as up to 1,000 support roles in and around the airport.
Chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "While we recognise the right of the Government and people of Northern Ireland to subject this small runway extension to an extended planning process, these repeated delays, the reference to a public inquiry, and now the further delay to the public inquiry for spurious noise reasons, shows a lack of willingness on the part of the local authorities to grow and develop traffic, routes, tourism and jobs in Northern Ireland.
"In these circumstances, sadly, we have better alternative airports elsewhere in the UK and Europe, all of whom are willing and able to provide us with the runway infrastructure and low-cost facilities we need in order to operate our lowest fare flights immediately, safely and profitably."