They have called for this to be followed with wider strategic action in the region to further boost the local economy.
Gary Middleton MLA said, “The connectivity provided by our local Airport is crucial to the North West region, and particularly our links with the rest of the UK. Whilst Stansted provided an important link to London, direct flights to Heathrow can realise much greater potential with connections worldwide.
I met the management of the airport recently alongside Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and colleagues. It was following that meeting we took the initiative and secured cross-party support for the route. With flights beginning on 6th May, it is important that this is just the first step in continued regeneration for the region and boosting the local economy.
Gregory Campbell MP added, “The Government’s subsidy of the Londonderry to London route is hugely important and will hopefully be followed by more action to demonstrate the importance of ‘levelling up’ right across all parts of the UK. Last year I called for the opportunities that exist in the region, not just through the Airport and Foyle Port but the underutilised land bank at Ballykelly and the Enterprise Zone in Coleraine. The location of a Freeport/Enterprise Zone in the North West could be the catalyst for strategic regional action boosting the local economy.
The North West is amongst the most disadvantaged regions, not just in Northern Ireland, but the UK as a whole. The announcement of the new Heathrow air link is another welcome step forward, but it needs to be a springboard for a more radical approach.”