Ryanair is to withdraw its services from Belfast City airport from October 1.

The airline has blamed the delay of a public inquiry into a promised runway extension.

It currently flies about 8,000 passengers a year from the City Airport to five locations in the UK – Bristol, the East Midlands, Prestwick, Liverpool and London.

A Ryanair spokesman said: “Ryanair regrets that despite repeated promises, the runway extension at Belfast City, which was originally scheduled to be delivered in 2008, still has not been approved by the Northern Ireland Government, and would now be the subject of a delayed public inquiry, which means the runway extension will not be delivered until 2012 at the earliest, some 4 years after it was originally promised.”

Ryanair said it had planned to open up a wide range of low fare European routes from/to Belfast City once the promised runway extension was delivered.

From early November, the airline will switch its one Belfast City based aircraft to another European airport, with the loss of 50 jobs. However, all staff will be offered relocation elsewhere in the UK or Europe.