Aer Lingus plans move to George Best Airport
AER Lingus is to shift its Belfast hub to George Best City Airport, ending a five-year stay at Belfast International.
The move follows a tender process involving both airports. Under the plan, Aer Lingus will base two aircraft at the city airport during the winter and three during the summer.
The company chief executive said the move would secure the "vital" connection to London and expected it to benefit from the number of business passengers on the route.
"The two aircraft which we normally use in the winter for a mixture of sun destinations and Heathrow will be used for Heathrow and Gatwick with a third aircraft serving two European routes in the new-look summer schedule.
"This is a commercial decision delivering value for our customers and the company.
"We believe the move will appeal to the 600,000 plus passengers annually who fly with us and especially the business traveller who now has a choice of two London airports with Aer Lingus."
No jobs will be affected by the decision to switch Belfast bases.
Aer Lingus on Wednesday came out strongly against a bid for the company from Ryanair, saying it undervalued the company and would not pass competition regulators.
Any bid is likely to be assessed by the European Commission.