Management at Belfast International Airport say the decision by Virgin Atlantic to double the number of flights from Northern Ireland to Orlando next summer is a real vote of confidence in the local market.
From June 2017, two flights a week will depart for the Sunshine State, bringing the total number of direct flights to operate over the ensuing peak summer four-week period to eight.
And it means more than 3,500 holiday-makers from Northern Ireland will use the popular carrier.
Demand in the initial two years of service from Belfast has been buoyant with the result that the airline had no hesitation in expanding the service.
Belfast International Airport business development director Uel Hoey said: “There was enormous excitement around the debut of non-stop flights last year from Belfast with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays and the weight of demand has exceeded all preliminary expectations.
“The International Airport is delighted Virgin has taken this decision, which is a real vote of confidence in the Northern Ireland market.
"There is strong business here for a combination of quality airline service and an unwaveringly popular leisure destination, as is evident through both customer uptake and feedback from research.
“The return of the Virgin Atlantic 747-400 which can carry 440 passengers, on a greater scale than before, is most welcome. We are experiencing solid double-digit growth in passenger numbers and, alongside our other airlines, Virgin Atlantic is helping to drive that business."
He added: “Hundreds of new jobs have been created and many more will follow as we continue to expand our base in the second half of this year and next.”
Source: Irish TImes