The European Commission has approved plans for a new government-backed route between City of Derry Airport and London.
The tender for the new route will close in the coming days and an announcement regarding the outcome is expected next month.
The government at Westminster confirmed back in September it was allocating Public Service Obligation (PSO) designation to keep the “vital” route open after Ryanair announced it will withdraw its Derry to Stansted service on March 26, 2017.
Hopes are now high that another airline carrier will be poised to start operating from Derry to London the following day.
The NI Executive has also pledged £7.5m which will be used to develop other new routes, while there are also plans to build a new aircraft maintenance hangar.
A spokesperson for City of Derry Airport said: “The airport applied to the EU Commission for Public Service Obligation designation of its route to London and this has been approved, and tendered in the Official Journal of the European Union. The tender process will close at the end of December 2016. The airport will provide an update on completion of the tender evaluation in mid-January 2017.”
She added that airport bosses are also working with the Department for Economy and the European Commission to agree a compliant mechanism for the route development funding received from the NI Executive.
Ryanair will continue to operate its Liverpool and Glasgow services from City of Derry, while the seasonal flights to Faro in Portugal have been withdrawn.
For more detailed information on the plans see: www.derryjournal.com/news/transport/lift-off-new-routes-and-hangar-plan-for-derry-airport-1-7629268