Aer Lingus, the flag-carrier airline of Ireland, has announced that it would reduce the number of services it operates from Belfast International Airport in the winter of 2009. However, the suspended flights would be restored within four months.
Aer Lingus will suspend flights to 5 destinations – Faro, Barcelona, Milan, Rome and Paris – from the end of October 2009 till March 1, 2010.
The airline said that one aircraft would be removed from Belfast International Airport for a period of 4 months.
Aer Lingus also announced that it would reduce flights from Dublin by taking a number of its planes out of its fleet.
However, the company said that “the move was not out of the ordinary for airlines at that time of year.”
Meanwhile, the airline is offering 5 flights, in winter, to Heathrow, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Malaga and Munich.
Enda Corneille, corporate affairs director of Aer Lingus, told the newspaper Belfast Telegraph that the 5 routes on which service would be stopped for 4 months were “never planned to be operational during the winter months.”
“When we get through the winter and also get through the maintenance programme, we would be back to full steam very early in March 2010,” Corneille added.
He declared that Aer Lingus would open a new route to Tenerife, apart from Lanzarote, as a winter destination, adding, “These two routes are about 4-hour sectors and they eats up aircraft resources, so we have had to make some cuts.”
Enda Corneille denied reports in a section of the media that Aer Lingus was scaling back the operations because of competition from other airlines.
Aer Lingus, he added, was happy with Belfast International Airport and that the base is performing very well.
On the 3 routes in which it is suspending flights – Faro, Barcelona and Paris – Aer Lingus is in direct competition with easyJet.
Aer Lingus, which is based at Dublin Airport, operates flights to destinations in Europe, Africa and North America.
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