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15 April 2011 14:06
George Best Belfast City Airport which is getting seven new routes to continental Europe
Budget airline bmibaby is set to introduce seven new routes connecting George Best Belfast City Airport to destinations in mainland Europe.
Travel insurance holders will be able to take direct flights from the airport in east Belfast to popular holiday spots of Malaga, Alicante, Palma, Faro and Ibiza, in addition to Amsterdam and Geneva.
Bmibaby's move follows its earlier decision to end its operations at Cardiff Airport from autumn this year.
The airline will go ahead with its plans for the airport despite reluctance by other firms to begin European flights before the proposed extension to the runway is approved.
A public enquiry is due to be held into the runway plans, which have drawn opposition from some campaign groups. Some of the local residents are opposed to the idea of the facility being turned into an international airport.
But chief executive of the airport Brian Ambrose said: "This is the most significant announcement in Belfast City Airport's recent history and is a welcome reward to all the staff who work tirelessly to make this airport world class."
Bmibaby said its planes will have modified engine thrust settings to enable them to fly out of the airport.
Julian Carr, managing director of bmibaby, said: "Bmibaby will be the only low-cost airline to operate the new routes directly from Belfast City Airport and this will make getting away for a sunshine, ski or city break more accessible from Northern Ireland."
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