A daily service from Belfast to Amsterdam by Dutch national carrier KLM is to be launched in May.
The airline will fly from George Best Belfast City Airport and offer greater access to global destinations through connections at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, a statement from the Northern Ireland airport said.
Air links with South America, the Middle East and Far East will be strengthened through KLM’s membership of an alliance with other carriers, ensuring easier transfers of passengers and baggage.
The airport is the only one in the UK or Ireland included in expansion plans announced by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
Schiphol is the linchpin of the KLM network and is one of the busiest airports in Europe, serving over 300 destinations.
It includes transfer facilities for passengers on popular routes like Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Moscow, Johannesburg and Bangkok.
KLM has been part of the Air France/KLM group since a merger in 2004.
It is one of the leading European air transport groups, with hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive officer of Tourism Ireland, said: “Not only will it help grow visitor numbers from the Netherlands, but this new flight will offer connectivity from other important tourism markets, including North America, Asia and the Middle East.
“We look forward to co-operating with KLM to maximise the promotion of this new service from Amsterdam to Belfast. As an island, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism.”