Posted on Wednesday 1 October 2014 by Ulster Business
Mike Rutter, Aer Lingus Chief Revenue Officer, pictured earlier this year launching a new on-board menu with chef Clodagh McKenna
Aer Lingus is looking at the feasibility of operating direct flights from Belfast City Airport to Germany as well as new sun routes to Mediterranean destinations.
Chief Revenue Officer Mike Rutter said a new route to the likes of Berlin or Frankfurt is possible providing inbound travellers – holiday makers from Germany – can be persuaded to come to Northern Ireland.
That, he told Ulster Business, would take help from the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure German tour operators will sell the route as part of a holiday here.
“They need persuading,” he said. “The key focus for getting a German route off the ground is to get the tour operators on board.”
More run routes, to destinations such as Alicante, to go with the current two of Faro and Malaga are also a possibility as the airline embeds itself to its Belfast City Airport Base and recovers profitability across the board.
“Aer Lingus and Belfast City are wedded together,” Mr Rutter said just ahead of the airline’s first ever board meeting in Northern Ireland at the Culloden Hotel.
He said the move was proof of the airline’s commitment to Northern Ireland, and boded well for the future after it managed to grow its operating profits in the second quarter of the year.
“Aer Lingus have been on a rocky journey but now we’re building on solid foundations.”
Part of that building process is to target the business market for its trans-Atlantic flights with the refurbishment of its business-class offering.
It spent £8m on over 200 lie-flat beds built by Thomson Aero Seating from Portadown – on display in the Culloden to show a gathering of Northern Ireland business people - in a concerted effort to target that sector of the market.