British Airways launches four new routes from Belfast City Airport
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As we covered over the weekend, Aer Lingus Regional – run as a franchise by Stobart Air – collapsed into administration on Friday evening.
The airline was currently running twelve routes. Six were from Dublin, mainly providing connecting traffic to Aer Lingus services, and six were from Belfast City.
BA CityFlyer, which runs services from London City Airport using a fleet of Embraer E190 aircraft, has stepped in to fill some of the gaps from Belfast City.
These are the new routes being launched by BA CityFlyer:
- Belfast City – Leeds Bradford, 6 flights per week, 16 June – 31 August 2021
- Belfast City – Exeter, 4 flights per week, 16 June – 30 August 2021
- Belfast City – Newquay, 2 flights per week, 3 July – 28 August 2021
- Belfast City – Glasgow, 6 flights per week, 2 August – 31 August 2021
The existing routes between Belfast City and Heathrow (BA mainline) and Belfast City and London City (BA CityFlyer) will continue.
Aer Lingus will operate the ex-Stobart Art services between Belfast and Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham using larger mainline aircraft.
What happens after 31st August?
The new Aer Lingus Regional franchise contract with Emerald Airlines isn’t meant to begin until the end of 2022.
As BA CityFlyer will still not be operating a full schedule from September, it is presumably cheaper for IAG to continue these routes using a group company – eg CityFlyer – rather than pay someone else to run them. That said, as these routes don’t provide any connecting traffic, they will stand or fall on their ability to sell point to point tickets.
It makes little sense for BA CityFlyer to run, long term, four regional routes from Belfast to the UK whilst Aer Lingus runs three other UK regional routes alongside them.
What COULD happen is that BA CityFlyer begins to run triangular services. It could, for example, fly from Belfast City to Leeds Bradford, and then Leeds Bradford to London City, and then back to Belfast City, and vice versa. Exeter and Leeds Bradford could (re)gain British Airways flights to London.
Is it likely? Frankly, I don’t think anyone has a clue how aviation demand will look next year, but with the furlough scheme winding up a decision will need to be made on the size and shape of the BA pilot and cabin crew fleets.
Tickets for the routes above are now bookable at ba.com, for cash or Avios.
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As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
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Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.