18 JUNE 2012
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An announcement is expected later this week that Aer Lingus is planning to switch its operations from Belfast International Airport to George Best Belfast City Airport.
The move follows the City Airport's loss of bmi Baby, which was carrying 400,000 passengers a year, and raises some serious question marks over the future of what was once called Aldergrove. That airport is owned and operated by the Spanish consortium Abertis, the same company which leases Stockholm Skavsta and Cardiff Airport and is the concessionary at Luton, and Orlando Sanford.
Aer Lingus flies to Heathrow and seven European destinations, but it is thought it may expand routes to regional UK airports from City Airport. Currently BA (bmi) operates up to five daily return flights to Heathrow. No information has been forthcoming regarding its intentions on the route. In 2007 Aer Lingus withdrew from the BA-led oneworld alliance but with the realignment now shaping up within the UK, British Airways taking over bmi, and new management in place at Dublin, a possible return could be on the cards. For the last five years Aer Lingus has soldiered on alone, with no partnership arrangements and only code shares in place with other carriers. www.aerlingus.com
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