HEATHROW ROUTE MUST BE PROTECTED
The Consumer Council says that Aer Lingus’ decision to fly from Belfast International Airport (BIA) to Heathrow and key European routes injects much needed competition for air passengers.
Significantly, the link between Belfast and Heathrow has at last been strengthened. With Heathrow’s unrivalled access to the rest of the world, this announcement will be a huge boost to the local economy. Since 2001, the Consumer Council has lobbied successive UK and EU Governments and the airlines themselves to secure access to Heathrow and the priority now is to get a long-term guarantee that the link to this international hub is retained.
Eddie Lynch, Head of Consumer Affairs at the Consumer Council said: “This is a welcome and significant boost for business and leisure travellers and we congratulate BIA for adopting a long-term, strategic approach to securing a thriving and sustainable marketplace for air travel.
“These are exciting times. As well as a welcome shot in the arm for the local economy and tourism, today’s announcement has the potential to transform BIA into a thriving and modern facility that offers real choice and competition to passengers. We will be working closely with BIA as they take forward their transformation programme to ensure that pressing issues like public transport links and car parking meet consumers’ needs now and in the future.”
The consumer has an important role to play in developing a modern air travel experience at BIA. The Consumer Council will be pressing for the creation of an air users’ forum where BIA can meet and respond with all key stakeholders on issues relating to the development and operation of the airport and respond in a structured way. The Consumer Council will be seeking an early meeting with BIA and Aer Lingus to discuss initial proposals for such a forum and to also get the required guarantees on the Heathrow route.”
Today’s news comes on the heels of Ryanair’s announcement that it is to fly from George Best Belfast City Airport. This means the number of connections to European destinations has grown from 1 to 27 since 2004, which means more choice and competition for passengers.
The Consumer Council looks forward to working with Aer Lingus and Belfast International Airport to ensure that the needs of Northern Ireland passengers are met.
- Consumer Council media contact: Susie Brown, telephone, 028 9067 4807 or e-mail, [email protected].
- The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about electricity, natural gas, coal, passenger transport and water.
- For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk
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