THE airline at the centre of a plane crash which claimed the life of a Wearside pilot has revealed it will axe the service next week.
Manx2 has confirmed that it was withdrawing from the Belfast to Cork route, which it launched last year, after carrying out an operational review.
One of the six people to die in the tragedy last month was co-pilot Andrew Cantle, 27, from Moorside, in Sunderland.
The former RNLI volunteer and the Spanish pilot, Jordi Lopez, 31, were making their third attempt to land the turbo prop aircraft in thick fog at Cork Airport when it crashed.
Shortly after the disaster, bosses at the firm vowed the airline would maintain the route and, within days, flights resumed between the two cities.
But it has now emerged it will cease from Sunday.
A Manx2 spokeswoman said: “The announcement follows an operational review of the route undertaken in the wake of the tragic incident at Cork Airport on February 10.
“In order to minimise the impact to passenger travel plans, the service will be maintained until March 13.
“All passengers booked to travel on the Belfast to Cork service on or after March 14 will be given a full refund.”
Meanwhile, a preliminary report from air accident investigators is expected this month.
It is believed the plane touched down and a wing clipped the runway before the craft flipped over and landed on grass, catching fire.
A legal firm representing one of the six survivors, Mark Dickens, 40, has claimed that Manx2 was attempting to shift legal responsibility for the accident.
Stewarts Law, the London-based legal firm acting for Mr Dickens, claimed it received correspondence from Manx2 attempting to place responsibility on the aircraft’s owners and insurers.
In reply, Manx2 said it had chartered the aircraft involved from a fully insured carrier – the Spanish-based firm, Flightline BCN
The online business is known as a virtual airline, with the company insists it operates as a booking office or ticket provider.
It sells seats on a plane, but the craft is owned and operated separately.
It is believed the 19-year-old Fairchild Metroliner aircraft had undergone a full maintenance check the week before the accident.