I have heard whispers that BFS offered the same deal to EI that BHD had.. with a few extras, perhaps this is delaying the decision, either way, as EI-BUD has said, they are leaving it extremely late for winter sun routes..
I would be amazed if BFS hadn't tried to match and beat the deal offered by BHD! If that is/was the case, why would Aer Lingus move??
I have to say that outside of the LHR link I would have to agree with this comment. BFS wouldnt want to push the relationship with easyJet to the absolute limits by giving EI inducements that are irresistable.
It would seem that BFS can replace the most of EI Non LHR capacity easily enough. The only real attraction of EI at BFS is their LHR route and potential US service in the future.
Easyjet could make or break BFS, a move to BHD would spell ruin for BFS overnight and a triumph for BHD, so I would suggest that Mr Doran is only too aware of this. Yes EZY have stated that they are staying put, but if some of the restrictions are lifted at BHD in the near future that could change, so for now it is paramount of importance that EZY are satisfied. We will see what happens to Flybe relationship with BHD should EI be invited to step on their toes.
Unlikely that BE would move up the road but absolutely no reason why they could not split operations and have non competing routes move to BFS. BHD is a very important piece of BEs network and one they have worked hard on for some time...
What is amazing is the sheer amount of coverage that EI Belfast has gotten on this forum over the summer, the most speculaton etc. What will be interesting will be the next moves of Flybe is the suggested head on competition that EI would provide at BHD for them....
Now that EI are going that leaves LHR, ACE and TFS up for grabs as good all year performers, also LPA, but has not done as well as the rest, I am sure an orange expansion isn't too far away from being announced. I am not sure how long 10 flights a day to LHR will last from BHD, perhaps BA will consider BFS
Spokesman John Doran said: "We have asked Aer Lingus why it has performed this U-turn, but so far we haven't heard any explanation that makes sense - save that they have been offered an implausibly low deal on charges by the airport to move there, and that they aspire to charging higher fares and commanding stronger yields as a result of flying from the City Airport."
Mr Doran said the move was "bad news" for local travellers, who he said until now had enjoyed some competitive Aer Lingus fares from Belfast International.
"We're sorry the airline has taken this decision which will have no positive effect on in-bound tourism or the development of a robust local aviation sector that's capable of competing with Dublin which, as well as being Aer Lingus's home base, is our main competitive challenge on the island," he added.
"We are already working to fill the void left by this defection and are confident that in coming months we will have positive news on new GB and international services."
edit - after reading the full statement from BFS and their tweets, it seems like quite a bitter move, defiantly not wishing EI any luck, EI may hope that they don't need to divert to BFS.. looks like BFS will charge them the highest rate just to add to this, as much as I love flying from BFS, I am a little disappointed at the remarks made on a certain tweeting website
They have decided to go up against their (old) ally BA with a weak schedule and a weaker product. It is clear from other rumours that Aer Lingus is toying with the idea of re-joining an alliance and specifically Star Alliance. This all starts to put into context Willy Walsh's seemingly dismissive remarks abour Aer Lingus being bought by Ryanair. BA and Aer Lingus are now moving from being code share partners to direct competitors and my money is on BA. Certainly it would be good if we had some Star Alliance connectivity restored, but on that schedule its just not good enough. It will also suit some people better when BA move the belfast flights to T5. However, business follows the schedule and BA has a far superior product so it is difficult to see what the overall impact on BA might be.
Down at BHD Flybe are going to be very unhappy and it is unclear as to why BHD management would do anything so stupid as to bring in direct competition against their longest serving incumbent. It all smacks of desperation by both Aer Lingus and BHD.
And, does everyone know who owns 15% of Flybe? (and is a code share partner)
This is a bad day for travel. It is difficult to see what good can come of this.
Up the road at BFS easyJet must be laughing up their sleeves.
I would expect to see Faro and Malaga frequencies stepped up significantly next summer by easyJet and to a lesser extent Jet2.
While I have enjoyed flying Aer Lingus for business and pleasure ex Belfast International, they need to realise what they are competiting with especially on Gatwick. Flybe does codeshare with BA, interlines with other airlines including Virgin, Emirates etc. Southampton complements Gatwick route with the opportunity to fly into one and out of the other for a return trip and this may suit some as the airports are not awfully far apart.
Sadly, when I need to get to LHR side of town it will be Luton with easyJet (I think easyJet could step LTN up in light of AerLingus withdrawl), or to BHD for BA or EI.