Belfast holidaymakers left in limbo as airlines cancel some European September flights
Both Ryanair and Jet2 have cancelled a number of flights to European holiday destinations from Belfast’s two airports.
he move means some customers who are due to fly as soon as next month may have received an email telling them their upcoming flight has been cancelled or changed.
The impacted customers appear to be primarily those who have flights booked from mid September onward.
Ryanair operates seasonal flights from Belfast City Airport to some of the most popular European destinations including Malaga, Faro, Ibiza and Milan.
The airline said the cancellations were as a result of what they called “operational issues” and stressed any customers affected by the cancellations will receive a full refund.
Ryanair has been approached for a response.
Jet2 flights from Belfast International Airport to Majorca have also seen cancellations, with the airline blaming Covid-19 and “ongoing travel restrictions”.
They said their summer programme of flights was being reviewed and therefore some flights have been cancelled. They said customers will receive a full refund and they urged the Northern Ireland Executive to open up international travel further.
A spokesperson for Jet2 said: “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing travel restrictions, we are reviewing our flying programme for Summer 21 and some flights have been cancelled.
“In-line with our customer first-strategy, all affected customers will automatically receive a full refund. We once again call upon the Northern Ireland Executive to do more to commit to opening-up international travel properly.
“We are still operating services to Majorca from Belfast International Airport for Summer 21 and are planning to operate four flights per week in September and two flights per week in October.”
Some users took to social media to confirm their flights have been cancelled.
Twitter user Maureen Brown said: “Email received today that Ryanair flight to Faro for end September cancelled.”
Stephen Bailie added: “Yes just looked to see my booking for October cancelled.”
The travel expert Simon Calder told BBC Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra he believed the airlines were trying to recoup costs on flights that were under booked as a result of uncertainty over Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Currently all UK nations operate a traffic light system for international travel, with countries able to be moved between the various categories.
The UK amber list currently includes the likes of Portugal and Spain, meaning those who are not fully vaccinated are required to self-isolate at home for ten days.
Mr Calder said the cancellations were not just affecting Northern Ireland.
“It is happening right across the UK. I would have to say it is slightly worse in Northern Ireland and Scotland than it is in the big English hubs particularly around London, Birmingham, Manchester,” he said.
“In areas which don’t have huge populations and also the presence of Dublin…it is tricky and that is why we have seen sadly so many cancellations from Northern Ireland.”
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