South Antrim Ulster Unionist MP, Danny Kinahan, says Ryanair’s move to open a base at Belfast International Airport will help drive passenger numbers to an all-time high.
Mr Kinahan described the development as ‘hugely important’ for South Antrim and the Northern Ireland economy, pointing to the 750 on-site jobs that will be created with the airline’s decision to base three aircraft at the airport and operate six routes.
Mr Kinahan said:
“I wish to welcome this heart-warming and very positive development. The jobs, investment and route development are crucial for my constituency and the regional economy and the impact cannot be over-stated.
“This will power growth at the International Airport. It will lead to at least one million additional passengers, which means that it’s highly likely the airport will set a new record this year.
“All of those involved in delivering this significant development are to be congratulated. It is so vital that we continue to increase Northern Ireland’s links to other economies and today’s announcement provides more options for people wanting to travel here, whether for business or as tourists.
“I will also be lobbying the DRD Minister to ensure that transport links to and from the International Airport are firmly on her radar. There is now a stronger case for dualling from the M2 to the Airport and for improvements to be made to the A26 from the Moira roundabout. I also hope she will continue to progress the Rail Investment Prioritisation Strategy published by Danny Kennedy during his time in office which highlights the potential of a rail link to the International Airport.
“Air Passenger Duty (APD) has also got to be tackled by Ministers and it’s time they stopped running away from facing up to the challenge. APD is crippling expansion and places our airports at a distinct disadvantage to Dublin. It has got to be addressed, and addressed sooner rather than later.”