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Manx2 chairman Noel Hayes pictured at the launch of the Belfast-Cork route in September. Manx2
Cork Crash

Manx2 accident within six months of Belfast-Cork launch

Manx2 had only launched its Belfast-Cork route six months ago, established its permanent base in Belfast in October.

THE AIRLINE operating the flight involved in this morning’s fatal crash at Cork Airport had only begun flying on the Belfast-to-Cork route in September, and had only established a permanent base in Cork last October.

The Belfast-to-Cork route – on which flight MN 7100 was operating when it crashed on landing on Cork’s Runway 17, its main landing strip – had only been established in August, with flights beginning on September 8 last.

The route had been taken by Manx2 only after Aer Arann decided to withdraw its own services along that route, having gone into examinership last summer.

Aer Arann had operated a twice-daily flight schedule from George Best Airport, and it is believed that Manx2 had taken over the route to operate the flights on exactly the same schedule.

Alongside the 7:50am service scheduled to land at 9am, an afternoon flight was due to depart Belfast at 4:10pm, with scheduled arrival at 5:20pm.

Those flights are partnered by return routes departing Cork at 9:20am and 5:40pm, with both flights scheduled to last 70 minutes.

The route had proved successful for the airline, which later in September decided to establish a permanent base at Belfast City, which involved transferring some of its previous services that had operated from Belfast International.

The airline, which is headquartered in Douglas on the Isle of Man, said that despite the success of its Belfast-Cork operations, 2010 had been – in the words of its chairman Noel Hayes – “a year I would rather forget.”

He told the BBC two weeks ago: “It’s my worst year ever in the aviation industry”, saying that the airline had seen its passenger numbers fall by 11 per cent overall in 2010.

Manx2 is referred to as a ‘virtual airline’, which outsources the ownership and operation of its flights. The Metroliner SW4 aircraft which crashed in Cork this morning had been leased from Barcelona-based ground handler Flightline BCN.

A spokesman for the Spanish company declined to comment on the nature of the airline’s relationship with Manx2 when contacted by

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