DALLAS – Belfast, Northern Ireland-based Fly Atlantic, has revealed that it is pushing back its launch date to 2025. The new low-cost carrier had initially planned to launch services next year.
However, issues with sourcing suitable aircraft and obtaining its correct licences have proved difficult and have led to delays. According to BelfastlLive, the airline’s CEO Andrew Pyne said the new launch target would be “Spring 2025.”
Fly Atlantic was first announced in November 2022. Based at Belfast International Airport (BFS), the UK’s newest airline had bold ambitions to link BFS with the USA and Canada, plus various UK and European cities, eventually serving 35 destinations once fully operational. Starting with six aircraft, it planned to grow its fleet to 18 by 2028. No announcement regarding aircraft type has been made, but Mr Pyne said that the airline had been in discussions with both Airbus over the A321neo and Boeing for its 737 MAX family.
“A Complex Exercise”
“The key issue is availability of aircraft. With the bounce back in passenger volumes globally post-pandemic, it’s become tougher to find suitable aircraft at the right price, hence the delay,” Pyne said. “We would obviously like to be flying as soon as possible, delivering convenient, value-for-money transatlantic flights to the long-suffering Northern Ireland travelling public. However, setting up a new transatlantic airline is a complex exercise, and we are dependent on a number of external factors.”
The fledgling airline has also been provided financial support from local Northern Irish councils. Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council confirmed it has given £35,000, including £20,000, to help costs associated with concluding an investment agreement for setting up a new airline and £15,000 to support a forthcoming bid to the UK Government’s ‘Levelling Up Fund.’