Thu, 08 Dec 2022

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today announced that he has given his approval for officials to commence work on developing and designing a new Northern Ireland Route Development Scheme (NIRDS).

Work to start on Route Development Scheme targeting international air connectivity.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today announced that he has given his approval for officials to commence work on developing and designing a new Northern Ireland Route Development Scheme (NIRDS).

Building on the success of the Northern Ireland Domestic Aviation Kickstart Scheme (NIDAKS) in 2021, which supported NI's domestic connectivity with the GB mainland across all three NI airports, the new Route Development Scheme will be aimed at securing new European, transatlantic, and Middle Eastern routes direct to NI.

Introducing the new scheme Minister Lyons said: "Maintaining and enhancing our domestic and international air connectivity is essential to rebuilding Northern Ireland's economy. That is why I am pleased to announce that my Department is moving forward with the development and design of a new NIRDS.

"The new Scheme aims to develop our international connectivity, in order to drive inbound tourism and Foreign Direct Investment, both of which are vital to the local economy. It is envisaged that the NIRDS would encompass European, transatlantic and Middle Eastern routes. As per NIDAKS, this will be a complex and complicated process, requiring time and focus to ensure the Scheme is attractive to potential airlines.

"Therefore, I envisage that the unprecedented support from the NIRDS is likely to be available during the financial year 2023-24, at the earliest. This will be subject to the business case demonstrating Value for Money and my Department securing the multi-year funding and appropriate approvals.

"I believe the future for Northern Ireland is positive and I will continue to do what I can to ensure this. I remain fully committed to maintaining and enhancing our domestic and international air connectivity"

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