Ryanair opens Belfast to Berlin flights

The budget Irish airline begins its first series of international flights from Belfast Int. en route to Berlin, starting Thursday the 1st of September 3 times a week.

The airport claim that the route has already had strong demand in terms of bookings in both directions.

Although no figures have been officially released yet, The new route runs alongside newly introduced routes from Belfast International to both Spain and Milan Bergamo.

The move to Berlin comes at a great time for Ryanair as rivals EasyJet cancelled its previous Belfast-Berlin flights in 2008 after 3 years. Simon Calder, travel editor at The Independent, claims he believes the route will be a success.

"Germans are the best tourists in the world, at least in terms of the numbers that they export," he added."So even if a country attracts only a tiny percentage of international travellers from Germany, that amounts to a healthy number. Germans are also very good at spotting opportunities – such as the value and lack of crowds offered by Northern Ireland, which is still some way from achieving its full tourist potential."

Belfast International Managing Director Graham Keddie said: "Germany is one of the biggest outbound tourist markets in the world and for far too long, we weren’t able to attract visitors directly to Northern Ireland. At no cost to the taxpayer, Ryanair will deliver thousands of German tourists in its first full year of operation."Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said "Connecting with new and strategic destinations such as Berlin will be a huge boost for the business and tourism markets," he added.

"With air passenger numbers at our airports continuing to grow, this new Ryanair Berlin route is further evidence of a returning confidence to the Northern Ireland travel market."

Since the news of the Brexit vote, Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary says his sights are set on EU airports beyond the UK

He said the vote had been a "surprise and a disappointment"."In the meantime, we will pivot our growth away from UK airports and focus more on growing at our EU airports over the next two years," he added.

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