The first flights have jetted off on City of Derry Airport's new Manchester route.
It was announced in October that the new service, operated by Ryanair, would run three days a week, and the first flight took off from the airport this afternoon.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Graham Warke, was present at celebrations to launch the route, and said it strengthened links with the English city.
“It fortifies the link between our region and Manchester where many local people do business and have friends and family living there,” he said.
“There is lots to see and do in Manchester if you are planning a city break and we can promise visitors from England the experience of a lifetime if they are travelling to the North West for business or recreation.”
The route's inaugural passengers were treated to an afternoon of Manchester-themed refreshments, giveaways and live musical performance.
City of Derry Airport manager, Steve Frazer, said they were thrilled to see the route established.
“A Manchester flight has been in demand for some time,” he said.
“We are proud to now provide this vital connectivity for corporate passengers and students who commute regularly and reuniting family and friends.
“Not to mention the offering of convenient leisure breaks to this action-packed destination; from football, shopping, nightlife, culture, history to family fun.
“Manchester has something to offer for everyone,” he added.
The feeling is reciprocal across the Irish Sea, and manager of Manchester Airport, Karen Smart, also welcomed the new route.
“It’s great to see Ryanair flights to Derry/Londonderry launch from Manchester Airport,” she said.
“The route will offer our passengers here in the North of England a great opportunity to visit a different part of Northern Ireland.
“For inbound passengers, as well as exploring what the North of England has to offer, the route will allow people easy access to our long-haul network out of Manchester.”
For more information on the new Ryanair service from City of Derry Airport to Manchester, visit www.cityofderryairport.com.
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