Posted on Tuesday 6 January 2015 by Ulster Business
KLM has announced it is starting a daily direct service from Belfast City Airport to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport from May.
The new route is the airline’s first from the airport and is expected to improve connections through the Dutch hub for travellers given KLM’s SkyTeam alliance with airlines such as sister company Air France as well as Alitalia, China Southern Airlines and Aeroflot.
It will also be a big boost for the economy here, according to Professor Neil Gibson of the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre.
“This is an extremely encouraging announcement for the Northern Ireland economy. Apart from the obvious benefits resulting from the link to a major business location it opens up connectivity to destinations much further afield,” he said. “With the clear need for a small regional economy to generate increased exports the ability to market Northern Ireland as being globally connected via Amsterdam and London will be very compelling.”
Belfast City Airport’s Commercial and Marketing Director, Katy Best, said the arrival of KLM is a major win for the airport and helps open up the rest of the world to travellers from Northern Ireland and attract tourists here.
“Schiphol is the linchpin of the KLM network, and as one of the busiest airports in Europe serving over 300 destinations, it is an attractive superhub with quick and easy transfer facilities for passengers on popular routes such as Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Moscow, Johannesburg and Bangkok.
And she said more new routes are on the cards in the future.
“It is our aim to attract new airlines to Northern Ireland and to further develop our domestic and European route network through working with the government.”
The tourism benefits from the new route are considerable, said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said.
“We look forward to co-operating with KLM to maximise the promotion of this new service from Amsterdam to Belfast. As an island, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism.”