Solutions needed to maintain Heathrow connectivity – Lockhart

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has written to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, to urge him to work with urgency to address the impact of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement on domestic UK flights from Belfast, by EU carriers. The DUP representative said the withdrawal of the Aer Lingus route from Belfast City to Heathrow ought to be the spur for the Government to find an accommodation for flights to continue.

By Carla Lockhart MP

Upper Bann

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Carla Lockhart said:

“The March 2023 deadline has been looming for several years and as yet, there appears to be no solution in place therefore no solution to maintain this important route under the operation of Aer Lingus.

I have been contacted by a local school in my constituency who plan to visit London next Spring for an educational trip. They have been informed that their travel plans are now in limbo due to the withdrawal of the Aer Lingus Heathrow service at the end of March 2023.

Colleagues have been engaging with the Government on this issue for some time, but as yet there is no solution in place that allows this service to continue uninterrupted. Aer Lingus must register as a UK carrier, and obtain a UK air operator certificate and use UK registered aircraft. This process can take time, so we need the Government to either offer a derogation on this, or work closely to accelerate this process to support the route.

Sadly across a range of areas there appears little urgency in the Northern Ireland Office to deliver anything for Northern Ireland. I trust the Secretary of State’s New Year’s resolution will be to do better in resolving the raft of issues arising from the decisions made by his Party. The list is growing, not reducing.”

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