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New Belfast - New York air route will have huge benefits

7 October, 2004

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, National Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has welcomed the announcement that Continental Airlines will begin direct air route between Belfast and New York by June 2005.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Opening up this route can bring thousands more visitors to the six counties. It has the potential to support the development of our tourist industry, to attract inward investment and to support economic growth.

"It is good to see a number of organisations, including NITB, Tourism Ireland, Invest NI subsidiary Air Route Development Ltd and DETI along with the International Airport and Continental Airlines working together to achieve this result

"It is vital that we now get a regional transport strategy in place that maximises the benefits of expanding air travel routes beyond the Belfast Metropolitan Area and brings people up to Derry, into Fermanagh and Tyrone, down to Armagh and on across the border to the rest of Ireland.

"Investment in our transport infrastructure, particularly in our rail and public transport networks, in a way that links us together with the rest of Ireland is essential if we are to make the most out of developments such as this." ENDS

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