Stobart Air to launch regular Belfast link with Manchester

Manchester Airport is to see the introduction of a service to Belfast City Airport from September 14, 2020, it was announced today (July 23).

Stobart Air, operator of Aer Lingus Regional, will base five ATR72-600 aircraft at Belfast City Airport.

The airline, part of the Carlisle-based Stobart Group, will operate up to four daily return flights from Manchester Airport to Belfast City Airport with fares starting from £29.99 one way, including taxes.

Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, operates three routes from Manchester including Dublin, Cork and now Belfast City.

Stobart Air, following guidance from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), has implemented a number of enhanced health and safety measures to protect staff, crew and passengers.

Enhanced aircraft cleaning includes cleaning and disinfection procedures for the aircraft cabin, which are in addition to the existing aircraft cleaning schedule.

Each aircraft, including seats, armrests and tray tables will be subject to a daily disinfection process which provides surface protection from viruses for 24 hours.

On board, face coverings or masks are mandatory on all flights operated by Stobart Air for customers and cabin crew, respectively, with the exception of small children and those who are unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons.

The face coverings can be in the form of a reusable cloth mask or a disposable mask and it is recommended that these are worn from the time passengers enter the departure airport to the time they leave their destination airport.

Initially, when flights resume, the in-flight service will be suspended to reduce interaction between crew and passengers. Passengers will be encouraged to remain seated while on board.

At the airport, Stobart Air has introduced new boarding and disembarkation procedures to reduce passenger interaction.

Passengers will board and disembark the aircraft in small groups and according to seat row numbers. At the boarding gate, customers will scan their own boarding card and show their passport or ID to the staff member, making this process contactless.

Stobart Air managing director, Andy Jolly, said: “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stobart Air has been challenged and we have worked hard over the past number of months to protect our airline and to position us for the future, once restrictions ease and passenger demand increases.

“Working with Belfast City Airport and Manchester Airport, along with our partners, Aer Lingus, we are pleased to establish a base at Belfast City to service flights to Manchester.

“High frequency day-return flights from Manchester to Belfast City Airport will cater for both business and leisure travellers for direct, convenient and cost-effective flights.”

He added: “We continuously strive to provide our passengers with frequent, convenient and affordable services. We look forward to welcoming our passengers on board this new route from Manchester from 14 September.”

Julian Carr, aviation director for Manchester Airport, said: “It’s great to see that flights to Belfast City will return to Manchester Airport, giving our passengers greater choice and flexibility when accessing the capital of Northern Ireland. I imagine they will be extremely popular with both leisure and business passengers looking to access the city.

“Furthermore, the flights will also provide excellent onward connectivity for the people of Northern Ireland, who will have easy access to our international long haul network.”