Ryanair has announced it will cease all flights from Northern Ireland this autumn.
In an announcement on Tuesday, the budget airline blamed the financial strain of Airport Passenger Duty (APD) and the government’s failure to provide Covid recovery incentives.
“Due to the UK government’s refusal to suspend or reduce APD, and the lack of Covid recovery incentives from both Belfast airports, this winter Ryanair will cease operations from Belfast international and Belfast City airport from the end of the summer schedule in October, and these aircraft will be reallocated to lower-cost airports elsewhere in the UK and Europe for the winter schedule, which starts in November,” said a spokesperson for the carrier.
The change means an end to flight routes to six destinations from Belfast International Airport – Alicante, Málaga, Kraków, Gdansk, Warsaw and Milan – which will stop by 30 October.
At Belfast City airport, eight services will be closed this autumn – to Alicante, Barcelona, Faro, Ibiza, Mallorca, Málaga, Milan and Valencia – from 12 September.
Ryanair had already pulled flights from Derry airport earlier in the year.
It had only resumed flights from Belfast City in June, plugging the gap left by Flybe after it collapsed last year.
Belfast international airport said: “It is disappointing that Ryanair decided to withdraw operations from the entire Northern Ireland market at the end of October, having variously had a presence in three local airports in recent years.”
A spokesperson said the airport has been “engaging with our existing and other new airlines to provide continuity on the routes to be vacated by Ryanair”, in the hopes of attracting other carriers.