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10 UPDATE Gatwick service

ELFAST International Airport’s Gatwick service is now the UK’s busiest domestic air route, according to figures released by the CAA.

The Belfast-Gatwick service operated by easyJet and Ryanair overtook the Edinburgh- Heathrow link to become the country’s largest domestic route.

Overall, Belfast has overtaken Gatwick to become the UK’s fourth largest airport for domestic operations and now just sits behind Edinburgh, Heathrow and Glasgow in the domestic traffic ‘league table’.

The CAA’s January statistics show how in excess of 77,000 passengers chose the Belfast- Gatwick services, which was more than 1,600 ahead of the traditional headline performer, Edinburgh-Heathrow.

Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, said: “These figures give us cause for celebration. These are impressive numbers and we see our performance strengthening as the year progresses. We remain firmly on course for a record year with more that 5.4 million passengers, and that’s down to our airlines and our commitment to do everything we can to expand.

“We’ve had the breakthrough we all wanted with confirmation that Norwegian will operate two new trans-Atlantic services to New York and Boston. They will help boost long-haul passenger traffic and be pivotal when it comes to attracting greater numbers of American tourists to Northern Ireland. “We’re the only Northern Ireland airport experiencing growth, and we see that pace

busiest in the UK B

March 2017 Travel News

being maintained and accelerated. We are working with airlines to open routes to European cities not currently served from Belfast International. Of course, as we grow, so too will all of our on-site businesses. Passenger demand is leading to hundreds of new jobs.

“We recently did a Job Fair at St Mary’s University College on the Falls Road in west Belfast where all of our businesses had 100 jobs on offer. Close to 300 job-seekers attended and we believe all the positions will be filled shortly. “If we continue to grow at this rate, I expect we will create scores more new jobs this year. Many hundreds more could be generated if the Government suspended the application of APDin Northern Ireland, which is the biggest obstacle we have to growing this vital sector.”

EasyJet and Ryanair aircraft at Belfast International Airport - the two airlines have made the Gatwick service the busiest route in the whole of the UK

New Classic Luxury Lakes and Mountains programme...

CLASSIC Collection Holidays is introducing a luxury Lakes and Mountains programme. Having already featured Lakes Como, Maggiore and Garda in their successful Italy programme for a number of years and, following the introduction of the Dolomites area of the South Tyrol in 2016, owner and Managing Director, Nick Munday, was the main instigator for forging forward with a dedicated lakes and mountains brochure for 2017. “I’ve wanted to do this for a number of years,’ he says. “Having originally contracted much of Austria and Switzerland for a previous operator more

than 20 years ago, I’ve always loved these types of activity holidays and have felt for some time that there’s a gap at the high spend, luxury end so I’m delighted that, this year, we managed to get Austria and Switzerland timetabled in to our already busy contracting schedule.”

The programme is featured in a full colour 140-page high quality brochure including a variety of resorts in Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland. All resorts feature luxury four and five star hotels plus, in Switzerland, there are three fantastic 7-day itineraries featuring world famous rail journeys: the Gotthard Panorama Express, Golden Pass and

Glacier Express; the latter often referred to as the world’s slowest express train! There are sightseeing and activity ideas for every resort and many hotels feature a ‘we highly recommend’ section promoting must-do outings including cable car rides to the revolving Schilthorn restaurant famed by Bond’s On her Majesty’s Secret Service. There’s a family section and child-friendly hotels are highlighted throughout the brochure and, in Switzerland, the operator is keen to highlight that youngsters up to (and including) 15 years of age can travel free when travelling with parents holding relevant travel cards. As always, Classic’s

trips are individually tailor-made so multi-centre trips are easy to book and within the brochure there are numerous holiday ideas including ‘A Tale of Two Lakes’ which includes stays at Lakes Lucerne and Lugano with a transfer on the Gotthard Panorama Express. Flights from Belfast are to Geneva for Montreux Riviera, Interlaken, Grindelwald, Wengen, Murren and Zermatt and also Milan Malpensa for the Italian Lakes and Lake Lugano in Switzerland. Dublin offers services to Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Pula, Milan, Venice and Verona. Private transfers are normally included.

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