Local woman had planned to fly home several times

‘Airport pull-out cost me dear’

Kelly Allen. Kelly Allen.
By Claire Tennyson

A SOUTH Belfast woman says the announcement by bmibaby that its flights from Belfast are to cease has left her “out of pocket and frustrated”.

Kelly Allen, who lives in London, had numerous flights home booked over the next couple of months.

Arrangements to come back to the Four Winds area had been planned for visits to see her parents, attend a pal’s 30th birthday and go on a hen party weekend with her friends.

“I try to come back and forward quite often to Belfast and at the time when Ryanair was flying out of the City it was so handy to get a flight home because you had a choice of airlines,” she said.

Kelly criticised the sudden departure of bmibaby from Belfast City Airport and said it was inconsiderate to passengers who had flights booked.

“Even if they had said they were going to stop flights in six months time then at least we could have made alternative plans,” she said.

“What is ironic is that all around London there are advertisements to visit Belfast and enjoy the new Titanic building and in my eyes it is getting more and more difficult to get there.”

The cancellation of flights has cost Kelly around £200 as she had to make new arrangements but will not receive her refund from bmibaby for a month.

“I had to book other flights because these are events at home that I cannot afford to miss but I have not yet been refunded and had to pay for new flights through FlyBe.”

Peter Simpson, BMI Interim Managing Director, apologised to all those affected by the decision to cease flying.

“To help stem losses as quickly as possible and as a preliminary measure, we will be making reductions to bmibaby’s flying programme from June,” he said.

“We sincerely apologise to all customers affected and will be providing full refunds and doing all we can with other airlines to mitigate the impact of these changes.”

The company will cease to operate all flights to and from Belfast from June 11.

George Best Belfast City Airport said 420,000 of its passengers had flown with bmibaby in 2011. Airport Chief Executive Brian Ambrose said: “Like thousands of passengers, we are very disappointed at this decision. Strong advance bookings proved there was significant demand for the sunshine routes operated by bmibaby.

“However, I am confident that we can attract other airlines to fill the routes vacated by bmibaby.”

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said in the wake of the pull-out: “Understandably, passengers already booked on a bmibaby flight will be very concerned and wondering what their rights are.

“I would like to reassure them that if they are unable to make suitable alternative arrangements with bmibaby, they are entitled to a full refund.”

 

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