Blackpool Airport drops Belfast flight

LOW-cost airline is to drop its Belfast International flight from Blackpool for the winter.

Bosses at Blackpool International say the flights will return next March for the summer season.

A dip in passenger numbers for the services and the rise in fuel costs have taken their toll on the daily service.

But the airport has escaped the cutbacks by Irish carrier Ryanair which has announced it is to shed more than 200 flights from its services in the upcoming season.

The no-frills airline said it would be making a 14 per cent reduction in the number of weekly flights for winter 2008/09 at Stansted Airport in Essex.

The number of weekly flights will be cut from more than 1,850 to just under 1,600 this winter and the airline reckons it will carry around 900,000 fewer passengers than last winter.

Ryanair has 36 planes based at Stansted but these will be reduced to 28.

Sue Kendrick, communications manager at Blackpool International, said: "The Ryanair decision will not affect its Blackpool services which are running well.

" has taken the decision to reduce the Belfast service over the winter months.

"Low cost airlines are facing the fact that with the rise in fuel costs and falling bookings due to the general downturn in the economy, they are going to have to reduce operations.

"Whilst we are obviously disappointed, we can of course understand the reasoning behind the decision and we look forward to a full service resuming in the summer."

Meanwhile, the resort's Ibiza flights have proved a big success after taking off for the White Isle this week.

Two flights a week will jet to the Balearics – the first destination announced by the Leeds-based airline in more than a year.

Mrs Kendrick added: "All the flights out of the airport this week have been more or less full, which is very pleasing considering we have yet to hit the high summer season yet.

"We are also doing well with the new Geneva flights which start on December 13.

"Given the current climate and pressures on the airline we are holding our own."