Ulster Unionist MLA Michael Copeland has met with Trade Unions regarding the loss of local air-links from George Best Belfast City Airport. The East Belfast representative said:
“I met yesterday with representatives of the Unite and the GMB trade unions together with above wing employees of BA who were formerly employed by BMI and who have found their jobs under threat as a result of the recent decision to withdraw services from George Best City Airport. I feel bound to say that I consider the position of workers based in Belfast to be much worse than those endured elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
It is most unrealistic and unreasonable for the employers to suggest that staff on salaries which in many cases are topped up by tax credits, can with any degree of success consider relocating to London.
The behaviour of some in this affair, particularly the decision by the International Airlines Group (IAG) to terminate BMI Baby services from George Best Belfast City airport, which has caused the transport and holiday plans of thousands of people to be thrown into disarray at ridiculously short notice, is absolutely reprehensible.
I am extremely concerned at the potential economic impact of the significant job losses which will disproportionately affect East Belfast. I am fully aware that the George Best City Airport does not enjoy universal support, but those people whose jobs and lives will be affected by closures are deserving of the support of all right thinking people.
This airport, which provides a service to many thousands of travellers is also deserving of an honest hearing of its case for an appropriate, controlled and regulated expansion of business, which is the lifeblood of any such venture.”