A new subsidy has been agreed to allow an air link between the City of Derry airport and Stansted to continue.

The flybmi service will be supported by the government and Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.

The extension will enable flights to continue for a further two years, until May 1, 2021.

This will see 13 flights a week operate using a 49-seat aircraft.

The service has been subsidised for two years by the Department for Transport and Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley said: “I am delighted to have secured this funding and maintained the air link between the thriving City of Derry-Londonderry and London, the financial and cultural centre of Europe.”

Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, John Boyle, added: “We are delighted to retain this important air link with London and continue a route that offers timings that are conveniently scheduled for a full working day at either destination, and offers connectivity with adequate capacity and competitive fares.

“The airport remains an important regional gateway that is an essential part of the future development of the north west city region and we remain committed to ensuring that City of Derry is the airport of choice for the north-west of Ireland, offering both convenience and excellent customer service.”

Airport chairman Albert Harrison added: “We are pleased to learn that the crucial London route has been retained and our strong working relationship with Bmi will continue.

“The London route is a key element to the sustainability of the airport and provides essential daily connectivity to London for our customers.

“Maintaining frequent, conveniently scheduled air services to London is vitally important for the economic development of the north west city region and for the development of our regional economy and the social development of our region.”