Alliance has said Ryanair’s expansion of its operations at Belfast International Airport could lead to a wider uplift in the local economy.
The Irish airline today (Thursday) announced a new base at the airport, with flights beginning within months to London Gatwick and other destinations.
Alliance Leader and South Antrim MLA David Ford said the news would mean employment opportunities in the immediate area, along with other economic benefits.
“Airports can act as catalysts – they drive business activity and serve as platforms for enterprise. The airport is at the heart of my constituency and is now set to grow above the five million passenger mark in an exciting expansion.
“My earnest hope is we can now push this sector up the list of economic priorities and develop new routes, together with the resultant inbound tourism opportunities.”
Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson added it was important to treat the airport as a business hub.
“This has been done successfully in the Republic, to the disadvantage of our own airports. Ryanair’s investment shows what can be achieved in the North and East of Northern Ireland. I applaud them and the airport management for recognising that fact.
“I am confident this new and bold venture will greatly enhance flexibility for my constituents, as Ryanair adds more seats to the airport’s offering. Moreover, it brings with it the potential for hundreds more jobs once the Ryanair fleet at the airport reaches its planned target.”