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South Antrim MP Paul Girvan and MLA Trevor Clarke have said the decision by Belfast International Airport to implement tactical closures demonstrates the scale of the economic challenges facing Northern Ireland.

Paul Girvan, who is the DUP Transport spokesperson in Parliament said, “Right throughout the first wave of Covid-19, Belfast International retained 24-7 operations and it is hugely significant that they have now been forced to take this action.

Northern Ireland’s connectivity is vitally important to our wider economy, and particularly our links with the rest of the United Kingdom. I have been in regular contact with the airport throughout the pandemic and have also raised the issue of airports with both the Treasury and DfT.

Trevor Clarke said, “The Executive did previously provide some £5.7m support to Northern Ireland’s three airports earlier this year. Whilst support for airports does fall within the direct responsibility of the Infrastructure Minister, any decision on funding would obviously need to be discussed and agreed with colleagues across the Executive.

This announcement however underlines the wider challenges which will face all parts of our economy over coming months. These impact of these will be felt across nearly every household and family in Northern Ireland.”