Icelandair today announced Belfast (BHD) as a new destination starting June 1. 2017. Belfast will become Icelandair‘s 44th scheduled destination with a full year round service three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays operated by sister airline Air Iceland.  The flight from Belfast to Reykjavik will provide easy connections with Icelandair’s wide network of destinations in the US and Canada.

“Belfast is a vibrant fast growing city with great business and leisure opportunities and we are happy to be able to offer our customers this exciting addition to our network“, says Birkir Holm Guðnason, Icelandair CEO.

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is the country‘s centre for government, industry and cultural activity. The city has a lively restaurant and entertainment scene supported by growing tourism and a welcoming metropolitan population of around 600,000.

Welcoming the launch of the new route, Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at George Best Belfast City Airport, commented: “Belfast City Airport is delighted to announce our new three-times weekly flight to Reykjavik, which is a further extension of our growing European route network and a major boost to the Northern Ireland economy.”

“Icelandair has a proven international pedigree and our partnership with the airline for this new service will be a hugely welcome addition to the local market for business and leisure passengers.”

“With a fantastic range of cultural events, activities and historical sites, the Icelandic capital is an increasingly popular tourist destination, while the route offers passengers an extremely convenient connection to a host of destinations in the USA and Canada.”

“This announcement comes as we approach the end of a hugely successful year for Belfast City Airport, and acts as a major fillip for the local aviation sector as we head into an exciting 2017 and the hosting by Belfast of the Routes Europe conference.”

“I welcome the hard work and commitment of George Best Belfast City Airport to develop routes like this one which will contribute to our efforts to make global connections as we create a competitive economy.  This new route to Iceland which will open up connections to North America, is another important step as we continue to build our air connectivity so that it is as easy as possible for people all over the world to access Northern Ireland for both business and tourism purposes.” Northern Ireland Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton MLA.

Visit Belfast Chief Executive Gerry Lennon welcomed the news: “This s a real vote of confidence for our tourism industry and confirms the fact that Belfast is perceived as a vibrant and attractive leisure and business tourism destination.  It is also testament to the great efforts of our airports in connecting the world to Belfast – the service will not only provide another option for Icelandic visitors to consider Belfast and Northern Ireland but will also enable us to promote the city region globally, through Icelandair’s extensive global network.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s announcement is good news for tourism to Belfast and Northern Ireland. Not only will it help grow visitor numbers from Iceland, but this new service will also offer connectivity between North America and Belfast. We look forward to co-operating with Icelandair, Belfast City Airport and other tourism partners, to maximise the promotion of this new service from Reykjavik to Belfast. As an island destination, the importance of convenient flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism.”

The Keflavik – Belfast route is operated by Air Iceland on its 72 seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft in code sharing partnership with Icelandair, offering great connections at Keflavik International Airport in Iceland to destinations in the US and Canada through Icelandair‘s network. The flying time is 2:55 hours to and from George Best City Airport in Belfast, which is only 15 minutes from the city centre.

“Like our code share operation with Air Iceland to Aberdeen, Scotland, our Belfast route will be flown in cooperation with our sister company, utilizing their smaller aircraft like the Q400 to create new markets and opportunities“, says Birkir Hólm Guðnason.      

Belfast will become Icelandair‘s 27th gateway in Europe with this partnership with Air Iceland.