London air route ‘vital’ for Derry - Chamber

Derry’s Chamber of Commerce has praised all those involved in securing the new carrier for the Stansted route.

Teams from City of Derry Airport, the Council, the Department of Transport and the Northern Ireland Office had been working closely for months to secure the route.

BMI will run flights from City of Derry Airport to Stansted

BMI will run flights from City of Derry Airport to Stansted

BMI Regional will begin flying from Derry to Stansted twice daily from May 2.

Chamber President George Fleming said: “It is excellent news that the Stansted route is to be retained and the frequency increased. This route is extremely important for our businesses and also for out attempts to bring in investment from elsewhere.”

Mr Fleming elaborated that the airport was “a central part of our offer to investors and without a frequent and convenient flight between London and Derry, we would have greater difficulty in attracting inward investment”.

The service will operate as a Public Service Obligation (PSO) route for an initial two-year period with support funding provided by the Department for Transport and a subvention of up to £260,000 per year from Council.

Following the announcement, Jochen Schnadt, chief commercial officer of BMI Regional, said: “The North West region of Ireland is undergoing a sustained period of economic growth. It is important for businesses that the region is well connected to the UK capital and BMI Regional is proud to be bringing its quality, premium product to this route.”

Welcoming the new route, Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney said this “will allow the airport to build for the future”. “We need to see the airport continue to develop and grow in the future in order to support and stimulate the economy of the wider North West,” he said.

SDLP Councillor John Boyle said that the £3.8 million investment by the British Government to support the London route will go some way towards helping to “promote further growth and the future development of additional routes”.

East Derry DUP MP Gregory Campbell said: “Hopefully this route will now be well timed and marketed, and fully supported to allow it to develop further beyond the initial two year support level.”