Revealed: New low-cost airline to operate transatlantic flights

New ‘game changer’ low-cost airline to operate transatlantic flights from Northern Ireland: Fly Atlantic will launch services from Belfast to North America in summer 2024

  • The airline intends to fly to 35 destinations from Belfast International Airport 
  • It will initially operate six aircraft and plans to grow its fleet to 18 by 2028
  • Fly Atlantic is in discussion with both Boeing and Airbus over aircraft 

A new low-cost airline is set to offer transatlantic flights from Northern Ireland.

The announcement by Fly Atlantic has been described as a ‘game changer’ that fills a gap in the market – there are no direct flights currently operating between Belfast and North America.

Fly Atlantic is planning to start operating flights to Europe as well as North America from summer 2024.

New low-cost airline Fly Atlantic is set to offer transatlantic flights from Northern Ireland from summer 2024

Once fully operational, the airline said it intends to operate to 35 destinations from Belfast, and will create 21,000 new jobs by 2030.

That figure is to include 1,000 jobs created within the airline and up to 21,000 in tourism and support sectors.

Flights will start to go on sale from the beginning of 2024.

The airline said it will initially operate six aircraft at Belfast International Airport, and plans to grow its fleet to 18 by 2028.

It is in discussion with both Boeing and Airbus over aircraft, with the choice being between the Boeing Max and the Airbus A321.

Chief executive officer Andrew Pyne opens the Fly Atlantic office at Belfast International Airport

Fly Atlantic’s chief executive, Andrew Pyne, told PA that they chose Belfast over strong competition across the UK. 

‘Our vision is of Belfast as a strong aviation hub linking Europe and North America,’ he said.

‘The lack of direct transatlantic air services has clearly been an impediment to Northern Ireland’s economic and tourism development, which we now intend to remove.

‘The project can be a game-changer.

‘We will be offering affordable fares with brand new aircraft. We already have offices at the airport and will now be building out the infrastructure to support the airline’s launch. We start recruiting for the team early in 2023.

‘We looked at many options throughout the UK and Ireland. Belfast International and Vinci [the airport’s owner] stood out in terms of the facilities that they offered us and by their enthusiasm for and commitment to making this project a reality. Northern Ireland has a proud aviation and engineering history, and we are delighted to be able to build on this tradition as we develop the airline and its support functions.’

Fly Atlantic said it intends to operate to 35 destinations from Belfast, and will create 21,000 new jobs by 2030

Pyne also acknowledged support received from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, adding it had been ‘right behind the project from the start’.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Stephen Ross described the airline’s announcement as ‘fantastic news not only for the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough but for Northern Ireland as a whole’.

‘This is a key moment for Northern Ireland and is the most significant local aviation announcement in recent history,’ he told PA.

‘Belfast International Airport is the ideal hub for Fly Atlantic to base its operations due to its location, drive, and ability to offer unparalleled experience and routes for passengers.’

Graham Keddie, Managing Director of Belfast International Airport, also welcomed the announcement.

‘We look forward to them bringing this project to fruition as it would have very real economic benefits for Northern Ireland’s economy and would further enhance our international connectivity,’ he said.

For more information, visit www.flyatlantic.com

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