The team who helped secure a new London Stansted carrier for City of Derry Airport have now been tasked with delivering a new route to Manchester, it has been confirmed.
The move comes after it was confirmed that BMI Regional will begin flying on the new twice daily route from City of Derry (CoDA) to Stansted on Tuesday, May 2nd.
Prices will start at around £44 one way, and tickets will go on sale on Thursday, March 9.
BMI Regional yesterday revealed that it will be employing some local cabin crew as part of their Derry operation, and would also look at future proposals for other new routes from the Eglinton airport “with a great deal of interest.”
All BMI Regional fares include 23 kgs of hold luggage, allocated seating, complimentary in-flight drinks and snacks and speedy 30 minute check-ins.
On weekdays the new twice daily flights will depart from Derry at 6.10 am and at 5.35 pm.
Return flights will depart from Stansted at 9am and 7.25pm.
There will be one flight per day in each direction during weekends.
At a Press Conference staged at the Airport yesterday, Tom Wilson, CoDA Accountable Manager said the announcement had been a “long time coming” but described the result as “fantastic.”
The UK government and NI Executive have each pledged millions to develop routes from City of Derry Airport, following Ryanair’s shock announcement last year that it was pulling its flagship Stansted service from the end of March, as well as axing its Faro summer flights and reducing its Liverpool service.
The announcement had sparked fears over the airport’s survival, resulting in the London government financing a Public Service Obligation to allow for a new carrier to take on the Derry to London route.
Ian Woodley, BMI Regional Board Member, said that the new flights times would allow people to fly over and do a full day’s business or trade in London before returning the same evening.
“We do a 30 minute check-in because it gives people that quality of life where they can spend a bit of time in their bed and then a quick drive to the airport and off you go,” he said.
The 49-seater jet aircrafts will have all-leather seat interiors with a fully inclusive service, including “the bags, the food, the smile,” he added.
The Chief Executive of Derry & Strabane Council said the development was “the beginning of a new journey, a new chapter in the growth and development of the airport.”
Commenting on the plans going forward, Mr Kelpie added: “The N.I. Executive route development money is principally earmarked for establishing a route to Manchester.
“The same team that has successfully driven this process will now move to drive the next process.”