People in Derry will continue to benefit from direct flights to London, British Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling announced today.
Speaking in the House of Commons earlier, Chris Grayling confirmed that the UK government, in partnership with the Department for the Economy in the North, will subsidise the route between City of Derry Airport and London Stansted.
This provides an important link between Northern Ireland and London, enabling daily round trips to help boost trade and tourism.
He said: "The government is committed to this route because it strengthens the Union, protects choice and boosts trade and travel opportunities.
"It will be welcomed by businesses in the north of Northern Ireland because corporate trips to and from London within a day will remain a possibility. The extension will continue to provide easy access for tourists to visit the spectacular causeway coast line, as well as spectators attending the 148th Open golf championship at Royal Portrush this summer.
"Since May 2017, the Department for Transport and Derry City and Strabane District Council have subsidised a flight service from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted, operated by flybmi. This deal will be renewed for a further 2 years, until 1 May 2021, maintaining 13 rotations per week on a 49-seater aircraft."
The Secretary of State for the North, Karen Bradley, said: "This announcement is hugely welcome and vital for the continued economic growth of Northern Ireland. Connectivity to Derry-Londonderry helps boost the huge potential on offer, including tourism and global business opportunities.
"I am delighted to have secured this funding and maintained the air link between the thriving City of Derry-Londonderry and London, the financial and cultural centre of Europe."
Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle said: "We are delighted to retain this important air link with London and continue a route that offers timings that are conveniently scheduled for a full working day at either destination, and offers connectivity with adequate capacity and competitive fares.
"The airport remains an important regional gateway that is an essential part of the future development of the north west city region and we remain committed to ensuring that CoDA is the airport of choice for the north-west of Ireland, offering both convenience and excellent customer service.
"Council would like to thank the Department for Transport and Department for Economy for providing the necessary funding to ensure this vital connection can continue."
Chairperson of City of Derry Airport, Albert Harrison said: "We are pleased to learn that the crucial London route has been retained and our strong working relationship with BMI will continue.
"The London route is a key element to the sustainability of the airport and provides essential daily connectivity to London for our customers. Maintaining frequent, conveniently scheduled air services to London is vitally important for the economic development of the north west city region and for the development of our regional economy and the social development of our region.
"UK airports like City of Derry Airport play an important role in delivering domestic and international connections that help passengers travel further and link businesses to global trade partners.
"The renewal of this funding is a clear example of the government’s own ambitions for a thriving economy as it works to ensure all regions and nations of the UK are well served by airports and routes to the rest of the country."