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Business sector welcomes launch of new Glasgow/Belfast route

From left, Stuart Patrick, chief executive, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce; Brian Ambrose, chief executive, Belfast City Airport; Ann McGregor, chief executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce; and Jonathan Hinkles, chief executive, Loganair.

Business leaders from Glasgow and Belfast have welcomed the launch of Loganair’s new service between the two cities.

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Stuart Patrick crossed the Irish Sea on the first flight from his city’s airport and was greeted at George Best Belfast City Airport by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Ann McGregor.

Also on the first flight were Loganair Chief Executive Jonathan Hinkles and Chief Commercial Officer Kay Ryan.

“Connectivity and resilience are important for every city during the present crisis and beyond. This new route from Loganair provides both for Glasgow and Belfast,” said Patrick. “There are many business connections between the two cities and this service will be invaluable for the companies involved.”

McGregor said: “Northern Ireland’s economy relies heavily on good connectivity to both near and far markets. Today’s announcement is important because maintaining and indeed growing the number of routes from our airports will be key for economic recovery.

“We very much welcome the introduction of this Belfast to Glasgow service, which will help facilitate easy commercial travel between the two cities. Businesses across Northern Ireland already enjoy strong working relationships with customers and partners in Scotland and this service will go some way to ensuring that this can continue in the crucial months ahead.”

The service, a double daily Monday to Friday and on Sundays with a single flight on Saturdays, operates using a 49-seat Embraer 145 regional jet.

The weekday timetable from Monday through Thursday has departures from Glasgow at 07.15 and 16.00 and from Belfast at 08.30 and 17.15 – allowing for business meetings to take place in either city before a return flight home.

On Fridays, the first flight from Glasgow is at 13.15, leaving Belfast at 14.40, with the Sunday departure from Glasgow at 12.45 and 18.30 and from Belfast at 14.05 and 19.50. The Saturday flight repeats the same departure times as the first flight midweek.

With this new service, Loganair becomes one of the largest airlines at Belfast City, from where it flew the very first passenger flight on February 7, 1983 on the day of the airport’s official opening.

The Glasgow-based airline already flies from Belfast City to Aberdeen and Inverness, and a service to Dundee starts on September 18.

Ryan said: “Our expansion at Belfast City Airport is part of a comprehensive plan to re-connect the UK regions as the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic begins through all walks of life. It has been our privilege to continue serving essential routes, and we are excited to be linking Belfast City with Scotland.

“There’s a real affinity between Scotland and Northern Ireland, and between Glasgow and Belfast in particular. There is much visiting between friends and relatives as well as a lot of business done.”

Katy Best, commercial director at Belfast City Airport, said: “The commencement of a double-daily service from the heart of Belfast to Glasgow is not only positive news for Belfast City Airport but for the many passengers who rely on connectivity with Scotland.

“Glasgow is the fourth Scottish destination to be served by Loganair from Belfast City Airport in addition to Dundee, which takes off on September 18, and Aberdeen and Inverness.

“Loganair has a long history with Belfast City Airport and we’re very pleased with the choice and convenience their network provides for our customers travelling to Scotland.”

Loganair, now the UK’s biggest regional airline, has continued to fly more services than any other UK passenger airline during the crisis. In addition to keeping lifeline routes to the Scottish Highlands and Islands open during the pandemic, the airline has also maintained services for essential workers throughout and is now in the process of introducing both new and returning routes.

All flights, including the new Belfast City-Glasgow, service, are operated under the Safe Steps to Healthy Flying protocols which Loganair announced in mid-May – the first UK airline to set out detailed plans on how customer safety will be attained and maintained whilst Covid-19 is present. Loganair’s initiatives mirror those later announced by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Belfast City Airport continues to follow all relevant directives for airports in relation to Covid-19. Measures are in place throughout the terminal to enable social distancing for passengers and staff with signage visible throughout the airport. The airport has also deployed additional staff dedicated to terminal cleansing.

Loganair has partnerships with several major airlines including Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines and Norwegian carrier Wideroe, enabling customers from Belfast City to use Loganair flights to Scotland’s hubs to meet onward connecting flights worldwide. These partnerships will re-connect Belfast City to many of these airlines’ networks for the first time since the closure of Flybe in March.

Loganair’s advice to customers regarding travel safety during the current Covid-19 crisis is available on its website, and customers are urged to check for regular updates.

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