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Government to safeguard Great Britain-Northern Ireland air links

Coronavirus: Air travel support complements funding for sea routes

Mark Moran
01 May 2020

Air passenger services between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be safeguarded through a £5.7m government investment, announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The funding is designed to ensure lifeline services are maintained by protecting key air links.

The package is being funded by the UK government and the Northern Ireland Executive. It will temporarily support airlines and airports that are currently operating, allowing them to continue running air passenger services along two routes from Belfast City, and City of Derry, to London during the coronavirus pandemic.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Maintaining air links between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is vital. We must ensure that critical workers can continue to fly over the Irish Sea, and today’s investment in these lifeline services guarantees that.”

The package will: 

  • Maintain two lifeline passenger services (Derry-Londonderry to London and Belfast to London)
  • International Airlines Group (IAG) (Aer Lingus) will maintain the Belfast to London route that would be at risk without financial assistance given low passenger numbers
  • Belfast City Airport will provide airport services for the flight to and from London
  • Increase subsidies to Loganair to continue operating the City of Derry Airport (LDY) to London route
  • Support for City of Derry Airport to continue to provide airport services for this route.

In addition to the funding announced today, the UK government also recently announced a £17m package to safeguard vital sea routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, helping ensure critical freight and essential supplies continue to move across the Union.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said: “Alongside the recent £17m support package the UK government announced to ensure essential ferry routes were maintained, this additional commitment to safeguard the connectivity of the entire United Kingdom will guarantee the continued supply of critical goods, such as food and medical supplies and ensure key workers are able to carry out their roles.”

Northern Ireland’s Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “Our airports have been badly affected by the dramatic drop in passenger numbers but, like me, they recognise the need to keep our island connected. This is a unique payment that will offer much needed support in the short term during the crisis.”


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