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Northern Ireland low-cost airline plans to start flying in 2024

Low-cost airline Fly Atlantic, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland plans to begin flying routes across the Atlantic starting in the summer of 2024. Photo courtesy of Fly Atlantic
Low-cost airline Fly Atlantic, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland plans to begin flying routes across the Atlantic starting in the summer of 2024. Photo courtesy of Fly Atlantic

Nov. 23 (UPI) -- A new airline based in Northern Ireland plans to begin flying routes across the Atlantic starting in the summer of 2024.

Fly Atlantic hopes to serve British, European, Canadian and American destinations once it takes to the air, the carrier said in a brief statement on its website on Wednesday.

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The low-fare transatlantic airline will base its operations at Belfast International Airport and fly to 35 destinations once fully operational. It said it envisions employing 50 people at the airport and a crew of 250 people.

The company says it expects to indirectly create 21,000 new jobs by 2030 in the tourism and support sectors.

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The announcement marks the first step in Fly Atlantic's journey to eventual flight. The company still needs to secure proper licensing and aircraft.

The airline initially expects to operate six aircraft, growing to a fleet of 18 planes by 2028. The company says it is in discussions with Boeing and Airbus, and has narrowed its choice to the former's 737 MAX jet and Airbus' latest version of its A321. Both planes are single-aisle aircraft.

The airline's operational plan is to create a major hub linking Europe with multiple North American destinations in both the United States and Canada. The transatlantic routes will supplement shorter domestic flights.

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"The lack of direct transatlantic air services has clearly been an impediment to Northern Ireland's economic and tourism development, which we now intend to remove," Fly Atlantic's CEO Andrew Pyne told the BBC in an interview.

"We already have offices at the airport and will now be building out the infrastructure to support the airline's launch."

"This is really good news for @belfastairport and [Northern Ireland]. Having been in discussions with Fly Atlantic since last year it's great to see it progress to this stage. Work has commenced on a Route Development scheme that will further improve intl connectivity," Northern Ireland MLA Gordon Lyons said on Twitter in reaction to the news.

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