Up to 45 members of staff are to lose their jobs at Belfast International Airport.

Voluntary redundancies will be offered to the airport's 195 employees.

The managing director says the coronavirus pandemic has had a “devastating impact” on both airlines and airports.

Graham Keddie announced the move with "deep regret and sadness".

He said: "I would like to thank all the staff for their hard work, loyalty and dedication.

"Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on both airlines and airports and the recent announcement by the UK Government about imposing quarantine on arrivals will only exacerbate this further.

"We do not foresee air travel returning to pre-Covid-19 levels for a few years and therefore we have no alternative but to take this difficult decision to reduce our staff numbers."

He said keeping the airport open throughout the pandemic to facilitate emergency medical flights and supplies as well as deliveries and essential cargo cost them £60,000 a day.

"We cannot continue to operate at this level," added Mr Keddie.

"As we move to reopen for passenger flights in the coming days we regret that we have to make this announcement.

"We know it will take time for air travel to recover and this is a measure of last resort."

Reacting to the news, Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: "It is always regrettable when there are job losses in any sphere whatsoever and I fear that the impact on our economy will be very great indeed.

"We have been operating with only a fraction of the connectivity that we'vehad.

"I understand that Easyjet and Jet 2 are restarting operations from BelfastInternational Airport and, of course, I'm in constant contact with the department of transport to try and sustain our airports through a time of very great crisis.

"Restoring connectivity and growing economy and restarting the economy again go hand in hand."