easyJet, Northern Ireland’s largest airline, has put on sale the only direct scheduled flights between Ireland and Iceland.

The brand new connection will launch from Belfast International on 12 December 2014 and will operate twice per week, throughout the year to the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.

The route will be operated using a 156 seater Airbus A319 and easyJet expects to carry around 30,000 passengers to Reykjavik during the first 12 months.

Tourism in Iceland has increased by 40% over the last two years, helped by the introduction of affordable flights. Belfast will become easyJet’s seventh direct flight to Reykjavik providing easy and affordable access to Iceland’s stunning scenery, views of the northern lights, volcano and whale watching tours as well as the vibrant nightlife of the capital.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s Head of Northern Ireland, said: “We are pleased to have introduced Ireland’s only direct link to Iceland, offering a year round service with a flight time of just over two hours. It is particularly exciting to be introducing such a unique and exciting route to our base at Belfast International and we’re confident it will provide a popular addition to easyJet’s network. We believe the breath taking scenery and culture on offer in both Iceland and Ireland will deliver strong tourism benefits for both countries.”

Welcoming the announcement, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster, said:  “I am delighted that easyJet have chosen Northern Ireland, and Belfast International Airport, as the base for their new route to Iceland. Air connectivity is crucial for our economy and this route provides direct access to a new market, creating opportunities for both local businesses and the tourism market. I congratulate easyJet on this new venture and their ongoing commitment to
Northern Ireland.”

Belfast International Airport Business Development Director, Uel Hoey, said:  “The addition of Reykjavik opens up direct channels for Icelandic tourists to visit  the entire island of Ireland via Belfast as an entry point, adding welcome revenue to our local economy.

“One of our key priorities is to invest in the provision of new and vital direct access channels from key source markets and the introduction of this new service, the only air link between the island of Ireland and Iceland, is a clear manifestation of this commitment.”

easyJet now serves 26 destinations from Belfast International Airport and employs over 230 staff locally.