Belfast International airport is to announce eight new international routes in the coming days, managing director Graham Keddie discloses.
Speaking to FlightGlobal at the Routes Europe conference in Belfast today, Keddie says that six of the eight routes are to unserved markets and that “one of them is a route which will be the only one operated from this island” in reference to both Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Keddie does not disclose the identity of the airline, but tells FlightGlobal that it is an existing carrier operating into Belfast and has a “Union Jack on the tail”.
The new routes will be disclosed on 26 April and will be operated from summer 2018, Keddie says.
Keddie confirms that none of the new routes will operate to Germany, which despite being "the world's biggest outbound market" remains "woefully" underserved from Northern Ireland. He says that attempts to develop new air services to Germany and elsewhere are being hampered by the imposition of the UK's air passenger duty, which acts like an "anchor" on Belfast's development.
FlightGlobal schedules data shows that EasyJet is the biggest carrier operating into Belfast International airport, followed by Ryanair and Jet2.
Flybe is the biggest operator by seat capacity flying from Belfast City airport, followed by Aer Lingus and British Airways.