The Councillor for East Belfast said the move was bad news for both business and leisure travellers and added the Executive must legislate to secure an agreement guaranteeing air travel between Belfast and London.
Councillor Andrew Webb said: “This announcement is extremely disappointing and comes following Flybe’s decision to sell its landing slots at Gatwick to Easyjet. It also reiterates the precarious nature of air routes from Belfast, with the value of landing slots at London’s main airports being sold on by airlines and used for any conceivable route.
“The Belfast City to Gatwick route is a vital link for business and leisure travellers. It is a considerable selling point when attracting investors to Northern Ireland – as they can step off the plane and be in the city centre in five minutes. While I recognise Aer Lingus will continue to operate the Belfast City to Gatwick route, the competition and choice offered by two carriers was welcome from a consumer point of view.
“I have previously raised all these concerns in a motion I brought to Belfast City Council and I again call on the Executive to negotiate with the UK government to secure a Public Service Obligation Route between Belfast and London – a move that would guarantee air services between the two cities.”