Posted on Monday 18 June 2012 by Ulster Business

Pagoda easyjet plane

Low cost airline easyJet has announced plans to introduce extra flights from Belfast on routes including Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

The carrier, which flies from Belfast International Airport, said the increased frequency on these routes will start on October 28, a week after its new service from Belfast to Birmingham launches.

EasyJet is to add an additional flight to Edinburgh on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; an extra flight to Manchester on Monday, Thursday and Friday; and extra flights on weekday mornings and evenings on its London routes – Gatwick, Luton, Southend and Stansted – primarily aimed at business travelers.

Ali Gayward, easyJet commercial manager, said: “Our aim has always been to make travel easy and affordable. We remain committed to Northern Ireland and we are adding these extra flights in response to increasing customer demand for easyJet services.”

Competition between the airlines serving Northern Ireland remains fierce, despite  bmibaby's services to the city coming to an end this month.

Reports last week suggested that Aer Lingus is set to move its operations from Belfast International Airport to George Best Belfast City Airport and plans to take over some of the regional routes vacated by bmibaby. Aer Lingus has not commented on the speculation.

There has also been renewed debate about competition between the two Belfast airports, after the general secretary of the British Airline Pilots told MPs last week that it did not make economic sense to have two airports just 14 miles apart.

EasyJet’s expansion of its services is understood to have been planned for some time.

The company recently launched its fourth route to London – London Southend – which it said has already proved extremely popular, and is now the biggest airline flying to and from Belfast.

Uel Hoey, business development director at Belfast International Airport, welcomed easyJet’s commitment and said the airline was “demonstrating a willingness to explore new horizons in support of Northern Ireland’s economic growth”.

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