Belfast City Airport news

Some recent news about Belfast City Airport:
News stories about the airport can be found at the UK Airport News website

Aircraft noise at smaller airports, likely to have negative mental health impact if they have night flights

Aircraft noise from large airports has been frequently linked to harm to mental health, as well as physical health, but it is not known whether the same is true for smaller airports. In this blog, Dr David Wright, lead author of a recently published article in Environmental Health, looked at how much aircraft noise around a smaller airport – Belfast City – affected mental health.  It has about 40,000 annual flights, compared to Heathrow 75,000.  There is growing evidence that noise generated by large airports also affects the mental health of local residents (see NORAH and HYENA, the two largest studies). As more airlines are flying direct between smaller airports, no longer using hubs, this is an important issue. The study looked at individual and household characteristics, overlaid with noise contours. It found there was a correlation of worse mental health in areas near the airport, under the flight path. But these areas were often poorer, and poverty increases the risk of mental ill-health – so wealth rather than aircraft noise best explains the findings.  However, Belfast City airport does not have night flights (21:30 to 06:30), and it is noise that disturbs sleep that has the main impacts on mental health. “Setting sensible curfew hours would strike a balance between the economic benefits and health risks of living close to an airport.”

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Belfast City Airport late-night flight ‘failures’ criticised by Ombudsman – changes needed

The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman has found 3,073 late-night flights (between 21.31 and 23.59 GMT) occurred at Belfast City Airport between 2008 and early 2016, and there was maladministration by a Stormont department over these late-night flights.  The Ombudsman said there had been “a series of failures” by the former Department of the Environment (DoE) which for several years did not gather data on late-night flight movements “on a regular and systematic basis”. The investigation was carried out after a complaint was made by Belfast City Airport Watch, which represents residents. The Ombudsman said the DoE should have had an “agreed understanding” of what the night time restrictions meant in practice, so people living close to the airport knew “what was intended by this obligation”. It has recommended an operational definition should now be reached between the Department for Infrastructure, which has replaced the DoE, and the airport. A spokesperson for Belfast City Airport Watch said “We have spent years trying to convince the authorities they needed to take action on this issue. What is important now is that the department acts on the report’s recommendations as quickly as possible.”

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Belfast City residents welcome Minister’s action on City Airport inquiry’s noise recommendations

Residents affected by aircraft noise from George Best Belfast City Airport have welcomed confirmation by the Minister for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland, Chris Hazzard, that he has instructed officials to work towards full implementation of the recommendations of a crucial public inquiry report. The airport had been seeking significant changes to its planning agreement which would have greatly increased permissible noise levels, with a serious impact on up to 18,000 residents, while also removing an annual cap on the number of aircraft seats from the airport offered for sale. The report by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) recommended that the so-called ‘seats for sale’ cap should be removed, but also recommended noise control measures which, if implemented, would mean permissible noise levels won’t be as high as they would have been under the airport’s proposal. Belfast City Airport Watch said they would have preferred no relaxation of noise controls but welcome the full implementation of the PAC’s recommendations. That means the 57dB noise contour would be reduced from 7.5 sq km to 5.2 sq km, but BACW argues for 4.2 sq km.

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Belfast City Airport sold by EISER Finance Ltd to 3i Investments plc along with other assets

George Best Belfast City Airport has been sold as part of a package of UK and European assets. The owners are EISER Finance Ltd, which took control of ABN AMRO Global Infrastructure Fund. They paid £132.5 million for the airport in 2008 from former Spanish owners Ferrovial Group. Ferrovial had paid £35m for the airport in 2003. EISER is selling the assets to 3i funds, managed by 3i Investments plc. It’s understood the sale will have no impact on the day-to-day running of the airport. EISER has spent around £20m on improvements to the airport over the last eight years. As well as George Best Belfast City Airport, the deal also includes gas transporter and electricity network East Surrey Pipelines. EISER Global Infrastructure Fund (EGIF) is also selling assets in Italy and Spain to 3i as part of the deal, which is worth hundreds millions of pounds. Reports earlier this year suggested that 3i could pay as much as €600m (£509.5m) for the package. The proposed sale was first revealed in the Belfast Telegraph in April but has only now been finalised. The number of departure seats which the airport can sell in a year is currently capped at two million. In its accounts for 2015, the airport reported operating profits, before exceptional items, of £3.3m, up from £2.4m.

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Belfast residents claim planned airport expansion would make it one of 5 loudest in UK

George Best Belfast City Airport could become one of the UK’s five noisiest if controversial expansion plans to allow the airport to have more than 2 million passengers per year are allowed. Dr Liz Fawcett, of Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW), gave evidence to the Regional Development Committee at Stormont, saying that some 18,000 people could be affected by noise if the expansion goes ahead. She called for an independent regulator to be set up, to strike a better balance between commercial interests and nearby residents’ well-being. They also want robust fines for airlines. Recently the Planning Appeals Committee recommended that the 2 million limit should be lifted – provided that other noise control measures are put in place. More than 50,000 people across Belfast and north Down are affected by undesirably high levels of aircraft noise. That number is higher than at Gatwick or at Stansted. Dr Fawcett said if the airport is allowed its expansion, it could become one of the five noisiest in the UK in terms of population impact. It would also just mean the transfer of passengers and jobs from Belfast International airport. BCAW also wants airport planning agreements to be properly implemented and enforced. The airport continues to press for the greater number of passengers.

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Belfast City Airport campaigners call for independent airport noise regulator to look after interests of residents

Because of its geographical location, the noise created by Belfast City Airport flights affects a large number of people in the city. The local campaign, Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW) is an umbrella group representing more than a dozen local community organisations, and works to limit the noise they suffer. BCAW’s Dr Liz Fawcett told committee members the establishment that the creation of a powerful independent airport noise regulator in Northern Ireland would help strike a better balance between commercial interests and nearby residents’ well-being. It should ensure conformity with existing noise control measures. The airport is currently capped at 2 million passengers per year, but wants to increase this number – which would mean a considerable increase in the noise. BCAW say if the 2 million cap was raised, it could turn the airport into one of the noisiest in the UK. They want an independent noise regulator to deal effectively with public complaints and produce “meaningful” 5-year action plans aimed at minimising aircraft noise. They also want a wider airports strategy for Northern Ireland, considering how routes are shared between the two Belfast airports, to complement Dublin airport, without duplication of routes.

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Residents say Belfast City Airport’s plans to treble flights will cause intolerable and unacceptable noise level

Residents affected by aircraft noise from George Best Belfast City Airport say the noise will be “intolerable” and unacceptable. Under the plans, which are to be considered at a public inquiry starting on 18th May, lasting for 4 days, the airport’s own figures show that the annual number of flights could rise from the current level of 14,000 per year to 43,000 if the proposals are implemented. Up to 18,000 residents could be affected at a noise level which the UK government says causes significant annoyance (57 dB Leq) with the projected impact higher than the noise footprint of Gatwick and Stansted, where around 3,700 and 1,900 people respectively are affected at the same level. Local group, Belfast City Airport Watch, commissioned a survey that showed how much plane noise is already disrupting their lives. This showed of those living near the flight path 38% said plane noise was “very high” at their home. 20% said planes disrupted their sleep “very often” or “quite often” and 25% of parents with young children said their children’s sleep was disrupted “very often” or “quite often.” Belfast City Airport Watch said: “It’s quite intolerable for the airport to heap further misery on residents in the pursuit of higher profits when we already have an international airport sitting in a green field site with spare capacity just up the road.”

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Belfast boy wants alternative home for geese facing cull for safety of Belfast City Airport planes

A 10-year-old boy – Jack McCormick – has appealed to Belfast’s Lord Mayor to have geese, considered to be posing a threat to low-flying aircraft, moved to another park. The Lord Mayor has promised to raise the issues in a meeting with George Best Belfast City Airport. “I am an animal lover and would hate to think of anything bad happening to the grey geese at the park,” Jack wrote: “My papa takes me to a great park in Gilnahirk …. It is big, but it has no geese or any animals. Why not move some of your geese from Victoria Park to the park at Gilnahirk? I would make sure that they were well-looked after. If you can’t move them to Gilnahirk, could you not move them to other parks around Belfast?” The authorities prick the eggs so they don’t develop. Jack said (children aren’t stupid!): “Last year I noticed that there wasn’t that many goslings but this year I’m hoping there will be an increase,” he said. “I don’t want any of them to die just because of being near an airport. To be fair, the geese were there first, and then the airport was built there.”

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Belfast City Airport Watch say Belfast residents are furious about the token airport ‘action plan’

March 15, 2014

Residents affected by aircraft noise from George Best Belfast City Airport say they’re furious that the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment has approved an airport ‘noise action plan’ which doesn’t meet its own guidance. The five-year plan fails to outline how the airport is going to reduce noise for those residents worst affected, despite the fact that the Department says airport noise action plans should include such proposals. The Department’s decision comes as it’s emerged that the number of people seriously affected by aircraft noise (above 57 dB) has more than doubled within the space of a year – from 3,728 in 2012 to 8,247 last year. The figures, compiled by the airport’s own consultants, also show that more than 20,000 people were subjected to aircraft noise at a level which many observers consider to be significant (54dB). The airport’s draft noise action plan, published last summer, was sharply criticised by Belfast City Council which called on the airport to promise action to reduce noise for those residents who were most seriously affected. However, the airport has not heeded its call and the final version of the ‘action plan’ contains no such undertaking.

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Belfast Council backs Belfast City airport’s plan to increase annual passenger limit

March 15, 2014   [Belfast City Airport says the BBC report of this is inaccurate and wrong].

Belfast councillors have backed a plan by the Belfast CIty’s George Best Airport to grow passenger numbers. They believe it will boost the local economy. Belfast council are willing to allow the airport’s plans to scrap its “seats for sale” restriction, which limits it to selling 2 million departing seats a year. Belfast council said the airport’s pledges on noise control require closer scrutiny when a public inquiry is held on the issue – probably later this year. Local residents oppose an increase in the number of flights, due to the noise. The airport has been attempting to lift the seats cap since 2004, and there have been 3 judicial reviews, and in 2011, then minister Alex Attwood referred the matter to a public inquiry. Since then, an environmental statement by the airport has been the subject of a public consultation exercise that ended last week. The airport said lifting the seats restriction would enable it to attract new routes, like Frankfurt, and ‘claw back’ business from Dublin airport. The airport’s planning agreement limits flights in-and-out to 48,000 a year – last year there were around 37,000 – and the airport has stated future growth will be managed within that restriction.                                                                                                     Click here to view full story…


Residents near Belfast City Airport alarmed at research linking strokes and heart disease to aircraft noise

Date added: October 9, 2013

Residents affected by aircraft noise in Belfast and north Down, in Northern Ireland, have expressed concern at the findings of a new study – published in the BMJ. The study found the risk of being admitted to hospital because of a stroke or heart disease was linked to the level of aircraft noise to which an individual was exposed; the higher the level of noise, the more likely it was that they would be admitted to hospital with one of those conditions. Likewise with the risk of dying from heart disease. Dr Liz Fawcett, Chair of the Belfast City Airport Watch Steering Group, said the findings raise serious questions about the damage which aircraft noise may be inflicting on the health of people living under the flight paths. In Belfast the City Airport’s own figures show that more than 8,500 local people are impacted by aircraft noise at a level which the UK government considers likely to cause significant annoyance. These people may also be suffering effects on their health, which is unfair on them. Liz said: “It’s also unfair on the taxpayer footing the bill for hospital admissions which, in some cases, may be avoidable.”     Click here to view full story…


Row as Belfast City Airport rejects EU directive to produce Noise Management Area

September 10, 2013     .Belfast City Council is on a collision course with George Best City Airport after the airport declined to take measures recommended to protect residents affected worst by aircraft noise. Councillors have accused the airport of trying to wriggle out of its responsibilities after it refused to set up a Noise Management Area (NMA) in the residential area most affected by noise. Councillors say the airport must be held to their responsibilities. An EU Noise Directive recommended that a NMA where control measures would be in play should be set up for the 1% of residents most affected by aircraft. However, the airport has said this was merely a recommendation and it was only obliged to declare a NMA if the noise was louder. However, the airport’s own draft noise action plan, published in June, found that over 8,000 people living near the airport suffer from a level of aircraft noise deemed by the UK Government to cause “significant community annoyance”.   .Click here to view full story…


Belfast City Airport: Reality dawns earlier now for unhappy airport neighbours

June 27, 2013    Over 8,000 people in North Down, south and east Belfast suffer from levels of aircraft noise that are considered to cause “significant community annoyance” – over 57 decibels – according to a new report by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. Belfast City Airport has published a draft action plan which includes a proposal to begin operating a noise compensation scheme for local residents affected by loud noise – but only those affected by noise levels of over 63 decibels. Residents say aircraft noise has become worse since Aer Lingus launched 3 routes from the City Airport at the end of March. There is a 6.30am take off to Faro, 7 days a week and on weekdays, there are then 5 BA departures beginning at 6.35am, and all before 7am. The planes have been getting bigger over the last ten years. A resident asked: “Surely they should stick the big jets at the International Airport and keep the regional flights at the GBCA.” Belfast City Airport Watch does not believe that an airport situated in a densely populated urban area is the right location for international flights due to the noise and health impact on local people.  Click here to view full story…


Belfast City Airport’s own report finds noise badly annoys 8,500 locals

21.6.2013     More than 8,000 people living near George Best Belfast City Airport suffer from a level of aircraft noise deemed by the UK Government to cause “significant community annoyance”, a new report has revealed.A draft noise action plan published by the airport shows that 8,616 people live within a zone surrounding the east Belfast airport which gets an average of 57 decibels of aircraft noise. The average reading was taken over a 16-hour period on a summer’s day.


More Northern Ireland residents using Dublin Airport

March 12, 2013    New figures from the Dublin Airport Authority show more than 500,000 Northern Ireland residents used Dublin Airport last year, a 15% increase on 2011. The number of Northern Ireland-based passengers using Dublin Airport has almost doubled since 2010 – the vast majority (70%) for holidays or leisure trips – and only 20% for business. The effect of Air Passenger Duty is not mentioned, as it is only £13 for short haul journeys, and has been removed from longer journeys from Northern Ireland. The Irish flight tax is only €3 per flight (it was higher till 2011). Dublin airport says the new road network has made travelling from Northern Ireland to Dublin faster and easier. In 2011 Dublin airport had around 18.7 million passengers, Belfast International had about 4.1 million and Belfast City airport around 2.4 million.    Click here to view full story…

MPs call for total abolition of APD in Northern Ireland

Nov 30, 2012   Northern Ireland MPs say Air Passenger Duty of £13 on short-haul flights to and from Northern Ireland should be abolished. The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee said APD on flights was a major stumbling block to rebuilding the economy in the province.

Such flights make up 98% of all air travel to and from Northern Ireland. The committee wants the Northern Ireland Executive and the Treasury to look at ways of either reducing or abolishing APD altogether.   Committee chairman Laurence Robertson MP said: “For the people of Northern Ireland air travel is not a luxury, it is fundamental to family and economic life.


APD on long-haul flights to be abolished in Northern Ireland

Nov 07, 2012    The Northern Ireland assembly has agreed to abolish Air Passenger Duty on long-haul flights from the province. The tax on direct long-haul flights departing from Northern Ireland airports will be reduced to zero from January 2013.   The abolition of APD was welcomed by finance minister Sammy Wilson as a boost to the Northern Ireland economy.  “They are also vital for the local tourism industry and in attracting foreign direct investment to Northern Ireland, both key to growing and rebalancing our economy.

“Abolishing Air Passenger Duty on long-haul flights will help to protect and improve our international air access and ensure the competitiveness of our airports.”


Westminster committee hears from Belfast residents on aircraft noise from Belfast City Airport

October 27, 2012     A committee of MPs at Westminster has been hearing from Belfast residents affected by aircraft noise linked to George Best Belfast City Airport. The umbrella residents group, Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW), was invited to give evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster on 24th October as part of its inquiry into an air transport strategy for Northern Ireland. All three MPs whose constituencies are affected by the noise issue – Naomi Long MP, Alasdair McDonnell MP and Lady Sylvia Hermon MP – sit on the Committee and were present at the meeting. Dr Liz Fawcett, Chair of the BCAW Steering Group, said the group was very pleased with the reception it got from the MPs, and their interest in the issues. BCAW want the regulation of aircraft noise at the non-designated airports to be strengthened. The current proposals in the draft Aviation Policy Framework consultation do not go far enough. The consultation ends on 31st October. There is information on how to respond, and on the noise section in particular.   Click here to view full story…


Aer Lingus to switch from Belfast International to Belfast City Airport

June 16, 2012   The Chief Executive of George Best Belfast City Airport has dismissed the remarks made by BALPA link , that Belfast should have only one airport, at a Commons Select Committee hearing as laughable. He said the airport is a profitable privately run company, and cannot be closed down against their wishes. BALPA had said that Belfast City airport was not needed, and was creating over capacity for Belfast. Meanwhile Aer Lingus is thought to be switching its operations from Belfast International Airport to Belfast City Airport, after the City airport lost BMI Baby. Aer Lingus flies to Heathrow and 7 European destinations, but it is thought it may expand routes to regional UK airports from the City and compete with Flybe. The move could happen soon, and the City Airport would have Belfast’s only Heathrow connection.    Click here to view full story…


Northern Ireland Affairs Committee told NI ‘does not need two airports 14 miles apart’ in Belfast

June 14, 2012    The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has been told it is not sensible for Belfast to have two airports that are just 14 miles apart. This was the evidence from BALPA, which said its members agreed Northern Ireland only needed one main airport. BALPA said the decision on whether it should be at George Best Belfast City Airport or Belfast International was a matter for politicians – and that there was currently over capacity in Northern Ireland and it was the “wrong sort of capacity”. MPs have already taken evidence from representatives of both airports, as well as from City of Derry Airport and will hear more evidence next week     Click here to view full story…

Belfast schools hit by City airport’s noise proposals

May 25, 2012    Belfast City airport has submitted proposals that would replace an existing passenger cap with one controlling noise. This will increase the amount of total noise experienced by those near flight paths. Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW) believes this would mean that 21 schools would potentially be subjected to aircraft noise at a level above that recommended by the WHO, and 9 would would potentially experience aircraft noise at a level which the UK government regards as serious. Up to 46,000 people in Belfast and north Down would also be affected at levels well above those recommended by WHO. BCAW says “Under these proposals, the City Airport could become one of the noisiest in the UK, in terms of its effect on schools and the local population. There is a robust body of research which shows that high levels of aircraft noise impact negatively on children’s education and on people’s health.” The Department of the Environment is currently carrying out a public consultation into the airport proposals.   Click here to view full story…


Heathrow access ‘critical for us’

17 May 2012    A business lobby group has called for better access for Northern Ireland at Heathrow.  CBI regional director Nigel Smyth told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster that aviation had a key role to play in developing the Northern Ireland economy.  He said: “Air connectivity is vital for our exporters, our tourist industry and to attract foreign direct investment.” Meanwhile, a report by the assembly’s finance and personnel committee said the power to set duty on short-haul flights from Northern Ireland should be devolved.

All BMI Baby routes from Belfast to go by 11th June, and Flybe moving into the gap

May 5, 2012     BMI Baby will stop all its flights from Belfast City airport from 11th June. The airport said 420,000 of its passengers last year had flown with BMI Baby. BMI Baby services from East Midlands to Amsterdam, Paris, Geneva, Nice, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newquay, and from Birmingham to Knock and Amsterdam, will end on the same date. BMI Baby said it would not affect BMI mainline’s service from Belfast to London Heathrow. Monarch said it would run services on 25% of routes operated by bmibaby from the Midlands. A BALPA spokesman said: “The frustration has now turned to anger following the news that Flybe (which is part owned by BA) has moved onto many of these bmibaby routes without any opportunity for staff to look at options and alternatives.” Flybe is moving quickly onto some of the abandoned routes.     Click here to view full story…

Bmibaby to be grounded – jobs of nearly 500 staff may be lost

May 4, 2012     IAG has announced that Bmibaby will be grounded on 10th September, with some routes being stopped as early as next month. This will affect almost 500 staff. BMI Baby employs 497 staff in the UK, including 83 people at its Castle Donington headquarters, as well as 98 pilots, 117 cabin crew and 76 operations staff based at East Midlands Airport. IAG said it was still willing to sell airline, but it didn’t expect to find a buyer for the carrier which is losing £25m a year. BA said it is more optimistic of being able to sell Aberdeen-based Regional. They will be making reductions to bmibaby’s flying programme from June with many flights ending on 11th. Monarch has announced it is launching a new base at East Midlands Airport to plug the gap left by the grounding of bmibaby. It will also offer additional flights from Birmingham.    Click here to view full story…


Cautious welcome from Belfast City residents for airport noise consultation

March 28, 2012     Local residents have given a cautious welcome to news that the Environment Minister, will hold an inquiry and consultation aimed at addressing the issue of aircraft noise linked to George Best Belfast City Airport. Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW) want protection for local residents and their quality of life. They say: “A far higher number of residents living near City Airport have to suffer unacceptable levels of noise than is the case at major UK airports such as Stansted or Gatwick.” They also face more noise this year from several new international routes operating out of City which are likely to push up noise levels even further. BCAW wants the consultation to result in a tougher airport Planning Agreement which is properly enforced. Many thousands of Belfast people suffer levels of noise above those recommended by the WHO.    Click here to view full story…


Belfast City Airport Drops Runway Extension plans – comment from BCAW

March 27, 2012     Belfast City Airport Watch give a cautious welcome to the news that the airport has dropped its plan for a runway extension. But BCAW say the City Airport is, in any case, transforming itself into an international airport (with 9 international routes this summer) which – because of the larger, and so noisier planes required – is likely to exacerbate the existing noise nuisance suffered by thousands of residents. What’s needed is tougher noise regulation so there can be a balance between the commercial interests of the airport, and the health and quality of life of residents. BCAW welcome the fact that the Department of the Environment is about to hold an inquiry to look at the noise issue, and hope residents will get better protection from noise as a result of it. They feel that the City airport should not be an international airport, while there’s an existing international airport – Belfast International – just up the road with plenty of spare capacity.    Click here to view full story…


Belfast City Airport withdraws runway extension plan

March 23, 2012    The management of Belfast City Airport have withdrawn their plans for a 590 metre runway extension. It had first submitted its plan in 2008. The airport’s Chief Executive said it was being withdrawn as some of the information in the application was out of date. The airport had hoped that having an extended runway would mean it could attract a number of new airlines that could not use the existing runway to fly to European destinations. There was huge local opposition to the proposed runway extension, as there is a real problem with noise and a great many Belfast residents are overflown. Belfast City Airport Watch, a group which opposed the runway extension, said they were still worried about noise nuisance and that more – and noisier – international flights are still likely.  Congratulations to Belfast City Airport Watch for their perseverance and hard work on this over many years Click here to view full story…


Belfast residents celebrate legal victory over City Airport planning agreement

26th October 2011   Local residents affected by aircraft noise are celebrating a landmark legal victory in their campaign for tougher noise controls at the airport. A High Court judge quashed a decision by the previous Environment Minister in Dec 2010 to remove a clause in the airport’s planning agreement which effectively limited the number of passengers who could fly from the airport. Now the Department will have to reinstate the seats for sale limit – 2 million per year     Click here to view full story…

Belfast City residents welcome concession of airport court case but are cautious about inquiry move

30th September 2011     Residents have reacted cautiously to news that the Environment Minister is considering modifying the noise regulations governing the operation of the airport. He has announced an inquiry which will investigate how the current planning agreement between the Department and the airport can be altered. The Department is dropping its defence in a legal battle with Belfast City Airport Watch over the planning agreement. Over 11,000 people are affected by aircraft noise.    Click here to view full story…

Belfast City residents surprised at further runway inquiry delay

24th May 2011    Local residents have expressed their surprise at a last-minute move by the City airport which will further delay the long-awaited public inquiry on the airport’s controversial proposed runway extension. The Planning Appeals Commission has to put the inquiry on hold because the airport says it wants to submit further relevant environmental information which the D of E must first give the public a chance to comment on. The Inquiry may not be till 2012.    Click here to view full story…

Department of Environment calls for new Inquiry

19.4.2011 (BCAW)   The Department of Environment has submitted a new request for a public inquiry into plans to extend the runway at George Best Belfast City Airport.   The Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) refused to proceed with an inquiry last year. It wanted the department to produce more detailed environmental information about the likely noise impacts.   It is not clear when the inquiry will begin but a preliminary meeting will be held in June.

Controversial planning document could pave way for Belfast City Airport runway extension

3rd May 2011     Local residents have expressed their alarm at a draft planning policy document which could pave the way for George Best Belfast City Airport to be permitted its long-sought runway extension.  It states that the economic implications of a proposed development can, where significant, be the determining factor in approving a planning application – which would shift the goal posts in favour of the airport. If so, environmental concerns would be brushed aside.      Click here to view full story…

Belfast City Airport challenge to proceed with judicial review in June

1st April 2011    A legal challenge to the lifting of a cap on passenger numbers at Belfast City Airport is to proceed to a full hearing, a High Court judge has ruled.  Rival Belfast International Airport was granted leave to seek a judicial review of the decision to remove the annual seats for sale restrictions. A residents’ group, Belfast City Airport Watch Ltd, has issued similar proceedings. The decision on passenger numbers was announced by Edwin Poots in December.       Click here to view full story…

Low-cost airline reveals new Manchester route

Budget airline easyJet has announced a new Belfast to Manchester route. It is quitting George Best Belfast City Airport, and moving its Luton route back to its base at Belfast International after a year’s trial.  The airline says it has seen “no tangible benefits” after basing its Luton route at Belfast City on a trial basis.   Click here to view full story …

Belfast City residents’ fury at removal of airport passenger limit

7th December 2010      

 Local residents are furious that Edwin Poots has decided to do away with the passenger limit at George Best Airport.   The limit was a crucial aspect of the
airport’s planning agreement, designed to protect local communities against undue
aircraft noise. There will now be nothing to stop all 48,000 of the permitted
annual flights using the airport from using the larger, noisier type of planes
which have been operating there – which will greatly increase the misery of people
living below         Click here to view full story…



Residents concerned at bmibaby move to Belfast City airport – questions raised over passenger limit

25th November 2010    

Local residents have voiced their concern at the bmibaby  decision to switch its operations from Belfast Internat Airport to George Best Belfast City Airport.
Belfast City Airport Watch will be asking the Dept of the Environment whether
the planned move will mean the airport is, once again, breaching planning regulations.
Only last month, the Assembly’s Environment Committee recommended that the airport’s
stipulated passenger limit should remain in place (Belfast City Airport Watch)  
Click here to view full story…



Residents welcome Assembly Environment Committee decision to defer Belfast City
passenger cap move

19th October 2010         Local residents are delighted that the Assembly’s Environment Committee is to tell the Environment Minister (Edwin Poots) to defer a decision on removing a crucial noise regulation governing George Best Airport. The Committee wants the proposal to be considered either after or as part of the forthcoming public inquiry
on the airport’s controversial runway extension plan. Removal of the passenger
cap would lead to significant expansion by stealth of the airport.     Click here to view full story…


Londonderry-based transport firm Airporter to expand into Belfast

24th September 2010         The Londonderry-based transport firm Airporter has announced that it is to expand its operations. The company, which carries thousands of passengers from Derry to the two Belfast airports every year, will now provide a service to Belfast
city centre. While passenger numbers at Belfast City airport are growing steadily,
it is still far smaller than Belfast International, whose passengers numbers are
falling steadily.    Click here to view full story…


Ryanair to pull out of Belfast City Airport at end of October


1st September 2010      

Ryanair is pulling out of Belfast City Airport, saying the reason is the public
inquiry delaying a planned runway extension. Ryanair has been operating from George
Best Belfast City Airport since 2007, and flies around 800,00 passengers per year
from there to 5 UK airports – Bristol, East Midlands, Prestwick, Liverpool and
London. from November, Ryanair will switch its one Belfast City-based aircraft
to another European airport, with the loss of 50 Ryanair jobs.     Click here to view full story…




Failure to extend Belfast City runway “clips Ryanair’s wings”

 1st September 2010      

 Ryanair had hoped to carry huge numbers of passengers to and from Belfast City
airport, but wanted the runway extended. The application to extend the runway
by 590 metres in the direction of Belfast Lough is awaiting an inquiry and has
been delayed for years. Ryanair claims it is having to pull out of the airport
because of the short runway. The real reason is likely to be that its northern
Ireland operations were not making money, and cuts were due this winter.       Click here to view full story…


Belfast City Airport to hold residents meeting
27th August 2010        
 Belfast City Airport is holding two open days, at which local residents can raise
issues with the airport’s management. The airport wants to extend the north east
end of the runway by 590m. There were 1,486 letters of objection sent to the authorities
over the extension plans. But Belfast City Airport Watch said the event won’t
make life any better for the tens of thousands of people who suffer from aircraft
noise. Further expansion must be stopped.         Click here to view full story…


 Belfast City airport inquiry delayed by noise pollution report

11th August 2010        
 A public inquiry into the proposed runway extension at the airport is to be delayed
as the Planning Appeals Commision said it cannot start until it gets more information
from the airport about possible noise pollution. The airport wants to extend the
NE end of the runway by 590m while retracting 120m from the SW. Belfast City Airport
Watch says the airport must come clean about the dreadful, devasting impact that
this is going to have on residents.           Click here to view full story…


Belfast City residents’ concerns raised by CAA safety report

4th August 2010

Local residents’ concerns  about aircraft safety in areas close to George Best
Belfast City Airport have been heightened by a CAA safety report. It investigated
an incident east Belfast 2 months ago in which a man was hit by a roof tile and
damage caused to two houses, due to wake vortex. The CAA’s report said its investigators
could not determine what had caused the damage. However, whether or not a plane
was flying too low, residents are not reassured.  (BCAW)       Click here to view full story…


Politicians to hear Belfast residents’ concerns on plane safety and noise

29th June 2010

The Ulster Unionist Party leader, Sir Reg Empey, will be among a number of local
politicians speaking at a public meeting on 30th June on aircraft noise and safety,
organised by Belfast City Airport Watch. The meeting is being held in response
to rising concern among local people, following two recent incidents in which
roof tiles were dislodged from houses, apparently by aircraft, in the Parkgate
area. People want answers from local politicians.   (Belfast City Airport Watch)
Click here to view full story…


CAA to investigate east Belfast roof tiles incident:

19th June 2010

The CAA has confirmed that it will be investigating one of the recent incidents
in which, it appears, low-flying aircraft dislodged roof tiles in east Belfast.
The CAA is to investigate the most recent incident which happened at Parkgate
Drive at approximately 10pm on Tuesday, 8th June. The CAA says it will specifically
examine whether or not the aircraft in question was flying too low. The residents
think they were, but the airport denies this.     Click here to view full story…



Belfast residents call for independent inquiry into yet another roof tiles incident

7th June 2010

There has been another dangerous incident of roof damage and heavy roof tiles
being dislodged by vortices from over-flying planes, at Belfast City Airport.
Around 20 tiles were dislodged, though luckily none fell. The resident of the
house was extremely upset. Belfast City Airport Watch are calling for an independent
inquiry into aircraft safety, as there was another potentially dangerous episode
last September. The wake vortex problem is widely recognised.     Click here to view full story



Belfast Residents’ fury at Minister’s nod on lifting airport passengers’ cap

4th June 2010

Local residents say they’re furious that the Environment Minister, Edwin Poots,
has said he’s likely to lift the official limit on passenger numbers at George
Best Belfast City Airport. Belfast City Airport Watch, which represents residents
in east and south Belfast, and in north Down, says that any such move would have
grave implications for the tens of thousands of local people affected by aircraft
noise – and cause a nightmare situation for thousands.     Click here to view full story…




Residents welcome Belfast City Airport public inquiry

16th March 2010

Local residents have welcomed the decision by Environment Minister, Edwin Poots,
to hold a public inquiry into the the airport’s runway extension proposal. Belfast
City Airport Watch is delighted that the controversial proposal will now be subject
to rigorous scrutiny. They fear the extended runway would mean &lquot;an international
airport right on Belfast’s doorstep.&rquot; Just days ago, the CAA submitted a damning
report on the runway plan. (BCAW)   Click here to view full story…


CAA report prompts calls to axe Belfast City Airport runway extension

28th February 2010

A report by the CAA on information supplied by Belfast City Airport has prompted
calls for the airport to withdraw its planning application for a runway extension.
The environmental statement supporting the application to greatly extend the runway
has ‘significant deficiencies’. The noise report submitted to Planning Service
by the CAA said the evidence in the environmental statement was incomplete and
advised caution in relying on it. (UK Airport News)       Click here to view full story…




‘Green light’ for Belfast City Airport runway plans


8th December 2009

Controversial plans to extend the runway at Belfast City Airport are about to
be given the green light, an SDLP MP has claimed.   South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell said he believed the airport’s planning application
was set to be passed with the support of Environment Minister Edwin Poots. And while planning officials said a final decision had yet to be made, Dr McDonnell
predicted the controversial plan to extend the runway would go ahead without a
public inquiry.   Click here to view full story…




Fresh doubts over City Airport runway extension

3rd October 2009       A  long-running row over George Best Belfast City Airport’s
plans to extend its runway intensified today as details emerged of the serious
health and safety concerns the project would have on residents in east Belfast.
There are  warnings sounded by the Eastern Health and Social Services Board over
possible safety implications and the detrimental effect extending the runway would
have on the quality of life of those living under its flightpath.   (Belfast Telegraph)
Click here to view full story…


Belfast City – Airport residents’ voices must be heard – Robinson

25th November 2009         First Minister Peter Robinson has said that more weight
must be given to local residents’ views on George Best Belfast City Airport’s
expansion plans. He said the airport was an asset to the area but that had to
be balanced against its impact on local people. Ryanair is pushing for a runway
extension, but Flybe is against it. The planning application is currently under
consideration. Belfast International nearby already has a longer runway. (Newsletter)
Click here to view full story…


 Route move by Easyjet ratchets up Belfast airports war

16th October 2009
 The battle between Belfast’s rival airports has reached new heights after Easyjet
announced it is switching a core route from Belfast International to George Best
City Airport. Easyjet said it will switch the twice daily London Luton service
it currently operates from January. Belfast International posted a =15% drop in
passenger numbers in August from the same month last year compared to Belfast
City’s +8% increase and a +6% rise in September.       Click here to view full story…
October 2009     It has been reported that a Belfast Health Authority has raised
objections against the runway proposal at Belfast City Airport.     read more


Plane probe over house roof smash

14.9.2009       A resident of a house right under the Belfast City flight path has
had about 30 tiles ripped from her roof, and smashed in her garden, due to air
turbulence caused by the planes flying overhead. Fortunately her daughter was
not in the garden at the time. East Belfast Assembly member, Sir Reg Empey said
someone could have been killed and the airport should not expand any further.
(BBC)   Click here to view full story …..
See also   10.11.2009   Slategate latest, no comment, no apology, no offer of help.   more …..

Deal ensures cheaper flights for civil servants in Northern Ireland


8th August 2009       Civil servants from Northern Ireland will enjoy cheaper flights on official business
after a deal was struck with airlines today. Aer Lingus, BMI and Flybe won the
contracts following an open tendering competition. The government air programme
allows the civil service to take advantage of fare deals on the most frequently
used routes. (Belfast Telegraph)       Click here to view full story…

Robinson steps in on airport plan

25th February 2009
 First Minister Peter Robinson has objected to the terms of a motion on a proposed
extension of the runway at George Best Belfast City Airport. The motion calls
on Environment Minister Sammy Wilson to establish a public inquiry into the matter.
But Mr Robinson said if it was passed the environment minister would be caught
between his own planning law and the assembly’s decision, and be in an impossible
position. (BBC)

Click here to view full story…



Greens urge MLAs to vote for probe of airport plans

23rd February 2009
Assembly members are being urged to vote for a public inquiry into proposals
to extend the runway, and can express their feelings when the issue is put before
the Assembly for debate by the Green Party. Fiona McKinley of Belfast City Airport
Watch, said the message of MLAs to Sammy Wilson and his planners must leave them
in no doubt such a scheme is not wanted by the thousands of people whose lives
are affected by an expanding urban airport. (Belfast Telegraph)       Click here to view full story…


Belfast City Airport to fine flights that breach curfew

20th February 2009     George Best Belfast City Airport has revealed that airlines which break its late
night curfew will be fined — as it emerged there were more than 500 flights after
the 9.30pm deadline last year. It hopes to secure planning permission for an extension
to the runway. At present, flights should only operate between 6.30am and 9.30pm.
However, figures obtained by FoI found that 535 flights were recorded after 9.30pm,
174 after 10pm. (Belfast Telegraph)     Click here to view full story…



Belfast City Airport seeking runway extension

 14th November 2008
A planning application to extend the runway at George Best Belfast City Airport
has been submitted. If granted, it would extend the runway by 590 metres in the
direction of Belfast Lough. The airport’s chief executive said it would allow
planes to fly further, to new destinations in Europe and the Mediterranean. Belfast
City Airport Watch said the runway extension would constitute an “irreversible
nightmare” for east and south Belfast. (BBC)     Click here to view full story…


Ferrovial to sell Belfast Airport to ABN

8.9.2008         Ferrovial has sold Belfast City Airport, to a Dutch – ABN Amro Global
Infrastructure Fund – for £132.5m.   This is four times the purchase price five
years ago.   Belfast’s rapid increase in price suggests that infrastructure assets
remain attractive despite the credit crunch.   Belfast City was owned directly
by Ferrovial and not via BAA. About 2.2 million passengers used the airport last
year and it expects to grow to 2.7 million this year. (Times)   More …..


News stories about the airport can be found at the UK Airport News website.

 Below are some of the stories:




22.06.09 Belfast campaigners step up runway fight

16.06.09 Belfast Airport expects ‘summer bonanza’

11.06.09 Flybe axe Belfast – Blackpool flights

10.06.09 Manx2 announce Belfast – Blackpool flights

06.06.09 Belfast bound flight had near miss

03.06.09 Jet2 launch Belfast – Jersey flights

19.05.09 Aer Lingus takes millionth Belfast Airport booking

13.05.09 Aer Lingus to suspend 5 Belfast routes this winter

07.05.09 £10m upgrade for Belfast Airport

05.05.09 Belfast to get winter Egypt flights

29.04.09 New drop off ban at Belfast City Airport

27.04.09 Drop in passengers at NI airports

08.03.09 Belfast City Airport accused of breaching planning limits

05.03.09 Irish travellers flying from Belfast Airport

20.02.09 Belfast Airport fines for late flights

12.02.09 Ryanair announce Bristol – Belfast flights

10.02.09 Ryanair boss confident no inquiry for Belfast City Airport expansion

17.01.09 Aer Lingus carries 250,000 on Belfast – Heathrow route



20.12.08 Belfast City Airport protest

19.12.08 Flybe oppose Belfast City Airport expansion

11.12.08 Teleticket add Belfast Airport flights

10.12.08 Aer Lingus mark first birthday at Belfast Airport

08.12.08 Belfast City Airport consultation ‘a sham’


25.11.08 Residents: we were right on Belfast City Airport noise

17.11.08 Belfast International calls for Belfast City runway inquiry

14.11.08 Belfast City Airport applies for runway extension

07.11.08 easyJet launch summer 2009 schedule from Belfast Airport

02.11.08 Councillor seeks Belfast International safeguards over City expansion

23.10.08 Outrage over Ryanair’s late night Belfast flights

18.10.08 Belfast City Airport given permission to expand

17.10.08 Ryanair helps Belfast City Airport boom

15.09.08 Ryanair praise Belfast City Airport

08.09.08 Schools disrupted by Belfast Airport plane noise

06.09.08 Ferrrovial to sell Belfast Airport to ABN

Ferrovial to sell Belfast Airport to ABN          (Times)   More …..

02.09.08 Belfast City Airport curbs to be relaxed

31.08.08 Aer Lingus ‘still committed to Belfast’

30.07.08 Belfast City Airport upgrades website

22.07.08 Four bidders for Belfast City Airport

09.07.08 easyJet axe Belfast – Berlin flights

25.06.08 Flybe to axe Belfast – Paris route

19.06.08 Jet2 add four new winter routes from Leeds Bradford

18.6.2008   Belfast City Airport – Residents’ anger at airport plan     (BBC + video clip)



18.06.08 Residents group say Belfast City Airport to be allowed to expand

18.06.08 Concerns after Derry flights touch down in Belfast

07.06.08 Aer Lingus to break even ‘at best’ in 2008

30.05.08 Belfast City Airport ‘worth £150m’

30.05.08 Manx2 add Belfast – IOM flights

29.05.08 Manchester Airports Group consider Belfast City bid

29.05.08 Ryanair €90m loss on Aer Lingus stake

27.05.08 Belfast City Airport is for sale

25.05.08 O’Leary: Aer Lingus could go bust if oil price rises continue

22.05.08 Loganair Dundee – Belfast / Birmingham flights take off

21.05.08 NATS wins Belfast City Airport contract

20.05.08 Aer Lingus profit warning

20.05.08 Birds eggs destroyed over Belfast City Airport plane fears

14.05.08 CityJet axe Belfast – London City route

13.05.08 Flybe axe UK – Ireland routes

09.05.08 Aer Lingus add Belfast routes

09.05.08 Manx2 offer free Belfast flights for Euromanx passengers

05.05.08 Belfast City Airport for sale?

04.05.08 Belfast – Vegas flights take off

30.04.08 Flybe reports strong bank holiday demand for UK routes

20.04.08 Ryanair criticised over Belfast sign

16.04.08 easyJet launch ‘early bird’ Belfast – Gatwick service

14.04.08 Manx2 reaches 100,000 customers

09.04.08 Aer Lingus and United Airlines sign codeshare deal

06.04.08 Belfast City Airport ‘not for sale’

02.04.08 Belfast City Airport to submit runway plans

01.04.08 Talks under way on sale of Belfast City Airport

12.03.08 Loganair Dundee – Birmingham flights available, but problems for Belfast

05.03.08 Record Belfast Airport sales for Ryanair

04.03.08 Loganair / Flybe announce Dundee – Birmingham and Belfast flights

28.02.08 easyJet scrap Belfast – Gdansk flights

27.02.08 No train link for Belfast Airport

25.02.08 Aer Lingus launch more Belfast Airport routes

21.02.08 Zoom announce Belfast – Canada summer schedule

20.02.08 easyJet campaign for Belfast Airport rail link

19.02.08 Manx2 adds Isle of Man – Belfast and Gloucester flights

13.02.08 Aer Lingus announce Belfast – Paris flight; drop Amsterdam rotation

02.02.08 Aer Lingus boss says Belfast Airport passengers up in January

31.01.08 Robin Hood and Belfast Airport work together to promote link

29.01.08 Belfast City Airport boss replies to residents runway concerns

26.01.08 Aer Lingus sells just a third of its Belfast Airport flights seats in December

19.01.08 Belfast City Airport to install noise monitoring system

16.01.08 Passengers to top 6m at Belfast Airport

15.01.08 Ryanair and Aer Lingus in war of words over new Belfast – Heathrow route

14.01.08 Aer Lingus sells just one third of seats on new Belfast – Heathrow flights

11.01.08 easyJet boss calls for better road access to Belfast Airport



Locals vow to step up airport struggle       22.1.2008

The George Best Belfast City Airport is considering plans to extend its runway.
However Fiona McKinley – writing on behalf of a number of residents groups – outlines
their opposition

Thousands of families in Belfast and North Down are looking for leadership –
leadership that puts people first, and curbs the excesses of Belfast City Airport
once and for all.

Since Ryanair’s noisy arrival in our skies, activity in and out of the airport
has dramatically increased.

The stunt-a-day, low-cost, in-your-face carrier has, it seems, taken over at
the airport.

There are new demands for a bigger and brasher operation to satisfy its appetite
… and those of us who live under the flight path can get stuffed!

It seems that our objections are cast aside. We are labelled as cranks and malcontents.
Their shopping list of demands strikes fear into our hearts.

They want a 600-metre runway extension to allow in larger aircraft and heavier

They would like the operating hours relaxed if not removed from the picture;
and they want the limit on passenger numbers allowed to use the airport under
a planning agreement lifted.

The residents’ groups and associations – and they are growing in number – are
more determined than ever to fight this battle. We will resist every unacceptable
measure they attempt to impose. In the search for justice, our campaign of opposition
will be visible and vocal.

We have launched an extensive letter-writing campaign which sets out the reasons
why we seek controls that place the people of Belfast and North Down above corporate

Letters have gone to the Environment Minister, Arlene Foster and to the Lord
Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Jim Rodgers, and his colleagues, requesting their intervention
on our behalf. A similar request will be placed before North Down Council later
this week.

The bottom line is that the airport doesn’t like its designation as a ” regional
airport” and looks on with envy at the growth and expansion being enjoyed at Belfast
International Airport.

Belfast City Airport wants the ‘international’ tag more than anything else, and
if that means allowing more aircraft at all hours of the day and night, then so
be it. Never mind the risks to people who live under the flight path or the damage
caused by noise pollution or the deterioration of air quality or the threat to
our wildlife.

Frankly, the time for action is long overdue. We have appealed for fairness.
We are not out to close Belfast City Airport, but to ensure that it operates within
the limits that were set for it. Nothing more, nothing less.

And there should be outright opposition to any proposal to expand or lengthen
the runway by 600m or over a third of a mile.

At the very least, we have asked our elected representatives to campaign for
a public inquiry whenever the application is submitted. An expansion of this magnitude
alters the character of the airport and represents an ever greater threat to all
of us.

We are entitled to no less, and ask that our devolved administration and local
councils take a stand for the people and reject a proposal that can only bring
misery to so many.

> Park Road and District Residents’ Association

> Sydenham Environmental and Community Group

> Mersey Street Areas Residents’ Association

> Connswater Community and Leisure

> Old Stranmillis Residents’ Association

> Belfast Holyland Regeneration Association

> Kinnegar Residents’ Action Group

> Cultra Residents’ Association

Belfast Telegraph





Campaigners opposed to a runway extension at George Best Belfast City Airportprotest

view story

A planning application to extend the runway at George Best Belfast City Airporthas been submittedview story
Up to an extra 3,000 flights could be allowed in and out of George Best BelfastCity Airport under new plansview story
A survey shows Schools in the flight path of George Best Belfast City Airportare suffering disruptionview story
George Best Belfast City Airport is sold for £132.5 million to the ABN AMRO GlobalInfrastructure Fundview story
Possibly 3000 more flights in and out of George Best Airport bringing the totalto 48,000pa (18 June 08)view story
George Best Belfast City Airport is up for sale (28 May 08)view story
New restrictions for George Best Belfast City Airport (19 Dev 07)view story
George Best Belfast City Airport Planning Agreementview story
Belfast City Airport renamed George Best Belfast City Airport (22 May 06)view story
Original sale of Belfast City Airportview story

All articles in reverse date order