Over recent weeks both British Airways and Aer Lingus have announced new routes from Belfast to the UK. Its been getting a lot of media coverage but both airlines insist they are targetting different markets.
Its covered here in the Belfast Telegaph
Competition from Aer Lingus on the Belfast City Airport to London Heathrow shuttle service is no threat to British Airways (BA), according to the UK flag carrier’s chief executive.
Willie Walsh said while the new arrival will provide competition, its move from its Belfast International base at the end of this month to compete head-to-head on the popular route had been expected.
“It had been rumoured in the market for some time, even well before we acquired bmi,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I initiated the review of Belfast as a market for Aer Lingus when I was CEO there. They didn’t launch it until after I left but I take some credit for having Aer Lingus in Belfast and I’ll take all the credit for having British Airways back here.”
British Airways (BA) took over the Belfast to Heathrow route from BMI, and relaunched flights in July, following the acquisition of its competitor earlier this year. The deal increased BA’s owners, the International Airlines Group’s (IAG), control of landing slots at Heathrow.
The service between Belfast City Airport and Heathrow is a key route for Northern Ireland businesses and a hub for worldwide travellers. Aer Lingus is due to begin services from Belfast to London Heathrow and Gatwick when it moves from Belfast International Airport to the City Airport on October 28.
Earlier this week, Aer Lingus chief executive Christophe Mueller said the airline was not entering the market to compete but its costs position was better than that of BA.