UK low-fare regional carrier Flybe has revealed plans to relaunch flights between Liverpool John Lennon Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport in the New Year, the third time it has served this domestic route over the last ten years. The airline will offer a three-times daily weekday schedule and single rotation at weekends from the New Year.
The route is expected to be popular with Belfast’s business passengers and is expected to generate 50,000 departing passengers per year. Belfast has a well-established Business and Financial Services sector, and business customers will be able to reach the city’s business district 10 minutes after leaving the airport due to the location of George Best Belfast City Airport.
“Flybe have been operating from Liverpool for a number of years and we’re delighted that they are committed to expand their business from here,” said Mark Povall, director of air service development, Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
“We know that demand for this service to Belfast City is strong and we will also continue to look at further opportunities for Flybe to serve the Liverpool City Region, at what is an exciting time for both the airline and ourselves,” he added.
Flybe has been serving Northern Ireland for over thirty years, and offers a total of 15 routes from Belfast City Airport with a choice of up to 526 flights week. The airline has also recently launched a new service between Belfast City and London City Airport, which also operates three-times daily.
“We are committed to providing easy and affordable connectivity throughout the UK at competitive prices with maximum flexibility and choice," said Paul Simmons, Flybe’s chief commercial officer, Flybe. “Flybe has, over the last twelve months, undergone a significant overhaul of the business and this has resulted in a more cost-effective, efficient and flexible operation, enabling us to increase the number of routes we can offer to better serve the travelling needs of both our business and leisure customers.”
The weekday services will depart Belfast City airport at 0700, 1245 and 1915, landing at Liverpool John Lennon airport at 0745, 1335 and 2005 respectively. The return flights will take-off from Liverpool at 0825, 1400 and 2030, arriving in Belfast at 0915, 1450 and 2120 respectively.
On Saturdays, the outbound service will leave Belfast at 0825 and land in Liverpool at 0915, with the return service leaving Liverpool at 0940 and arriving back in Belfast at 1030. On Sundays, the outbound flight will take-off from Belfast at 1915 and arrive in Liverpool at 2005, while the return service will depart Liverpool at 2030 and land in Belfast at 2120.
Flybe's arrival on the airport pair will bring competition to the existing flights of easyJet between the two cities, albeit serving Belfast International Airport. The carrier last served the market between October 2010 and November 2011 and previously flew the route between February 2005 and March 2007. Ryanair has also operated flights between Liverpool and Belfast City in recent years with an up to three times daily link between November 2007 and November 2010.
Our analysis of official UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data, below, shows that over 400,000 passengers a year continue to utilise the easyJet link between Liverpool and Belfast although annual demand in the last decade did reach levels beyond 635,000 when multiple frequencies were being offered between Liverpool and the two Belfast airports.