Assurance over Belfast to Heathrow flight route

The head of the parent company of British Airways, IAG, has confirmed that they have no intention of scrapping the route from Belfast to London Heathrow.

Willie Walsh said he believed it was a "profitable" route and that it was also essential to allow people to "connect at Heathrow into British Airways' global network." Speaking in Londonderry, he described how the acquisition of BMI by British Airways was "a great opportunity for Belfast" in that that they would be "selling Belfast across the world."

There were concerns that the flight would be dropped after the takeover on grounds of profitability, and also because British Airways pulled out of the same route in 2001. However, it would seem that British Airways considers that the loss of approximately 100 jobs among BMI employees at the Belfast City Airport will make the route a more viable business concern. 

Businesses in Northern Ireland have previously faced the risk of losing the Continental transatlantic flight from Belfast to Newark over air passenger tax, and the flights to London have regularly come into question. Businesses rallied to ensure the routes were maintained as they are deemed essentially to the current and future growth of the economy in Northern Ireland.