Arrival of Norwegian a coup for Aldergrove and Northern Ireland

Morning View
Morning View

The reinstatement of an air link between Northern Ireland and the United States is wonderful news.

Norwegian is one of the most innovative of the new budget airlines.

It offers a crisp long distance service in elegant new airliners, but with no frills at all unless they are paid for as extras (including meals).

This means it has been able to offer stunningly low fares between Europe and north America.

It will be a crucial addition to the transport options for people crossing the Atlantic to or from this Province.

It is also an exciting development for Belfast International Airport.

Airport provision in Northern Ireland has not been well thought through. We have three airports for a population of under two million people. Dublin Airport, on the other hand, has a catchment area with a population much larger than that of Northern Ireland, yet it is the sole passenger airport.

This means that it has a critical mass of both travellers and airlines that all three Ulster airports lack.

Dublin’s success has been aided by the motorway link to Northern Ireland, that means it is a mere 90 minute drive from Belfast. This has meant that every year hundreds of thousands of people from the Province find it convenient to use Dublin Airport.

Urgent action is needed to help claw back some of traffic that is going via the Republic.

The road between the M2 near Templepatrick and the M1 at Moira must be upgraged to high quality dual carriageway with flyover junctions.

The arrival of Norwegian is a coup for both Belfast International Airport and for Northern Ireland as a whole.

We hope that the airline with establish the sort of relationship with Aldergrove that easyJet has done, rather than being merely the latest short-lived air service on a route in and out of the Province.