Aer Lingus Regional - which is operated by Stobart Air - has today marked the beginning of its new route from Manchester to Belfast.
Image courtesy Stobart Air
Beginning today, the airline will operate up to four daily return flights from Manchester Airport to Belfast City Airport. Stobart Air, operator of Aer Lingus Regional, will base five ATR72-600 aircraft at Belfast City Airport.
Aer Lingus Regional operates three routes from Manchester including Dublin, Cork and now Belfast City.
Following guidance from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stobart Air has implemented a number of enhanced health and safety measures to protect staff, crew and passengers. New measures include:
To ensure the wellbeing of its passengers and crew, enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures have been introduced for the aircraft cabin, which are in addition to the existing aircraft cleaning schedule. Each aircraft, including seats, armrests and tray tables will be subject to a daily disinfection process which provides surface protection from viruses for 24 hours.
Face coverings or masks are mandatory on all flights operated by Stobart Air for customers and cabin crew respectively, with the exception of small children and those who are unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons. The face coverings can be in the form of a reusable cloth mask or a disposable mask and it is recommended that these are worn from the time passengers enter the departure airport to the time they leave their destination airport. Initially, when flights resume, the in-flight service will be suspended to reduce interaction between our crew and passengers. Passengers will be encouraged to remain seated while on board.
Stobart Air has introduced new boarding and disembarkation procedures at the airport to reduce passenger interaction. Passengers will board and disembark the aircraft in small groups and according to seat row numbers. At the boarding gate, customers will scan their own boarding card and show their passport or ID to the staff member, making this process contactless.
Julian Carr, Aviation Director at Manchester Airport, said: “It’s great to see flights to Belfast City take off from Manchester Airport today, giving our passengers greater choice and flexibility when accessing the capital of Northern Ireland. I imagine the flights will be extremely popular for all passengers looking to access the city.
“Furthermore, the flights will also provide excellent onward connectivity for the people of Northern Ireland, who will have easy access to our international long-haul network.”
Commenting on the announcement, Stobart Air Managing Director Andy Jolly said: “We are pleased to establish a base at Belfast City Airport and to work closely with Manchester Airport, Belfast City Airport and our partners Aer Lingus to operate flights to and from Manchester.
“Stobart Air has worked hard over the past number of months to protect our airline during challenging times and to position us for the future. The launch of this service is part of that.
“This new Aer Lingus Regional route will facilitate key links and connectivity between these cities and ensure we provide choice, value and convenience for our customers. We look forward to welcoming our passengers on board this Manchester-Belfast route from today.”