Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Belfast City Airport passenger limit reinstated

Tue 25 October 2011, 3:03pm

Having launched a consultation on the 2 million passenger seats per 12 month restriction on Belfast City Airport in June last year, the then Northern Ireland Environment Minister, the DUP’s Edwin Poots, announced in December 2010

Environment Minister Edwin Poots today announced his decision to remove the seats for sale restriction at George Best Belfast City Airport (GBBCA).

Mr Poots explained: “Having given the matter careful consideration and taken into account the issues raised in response to the consultation, I have decided to remove the restriction.”

Today the BBC report that Belfast High Court has ordered that decision to be quashed.

High Court orders confirming the outcome were made after the department conceded both cases ahead of a scheduled full hearing.

The rival Belfast International Airport (BIA) brought judicial review proceedings against removing the controversial restriction.

It was claimed that the decision announced last December by the then minister was unlawful and failed to take into consideration environmental implications.

A further challenge centred on claims that the seats restriction was lifted without checking whether there was an effective noise control system and an improved noise management system in place at the City Airport.

A residents’ group, Belfast City Airport Watch Ltd, also issued similar proceedings against the department.

And in the meantime the current NI Environment Minister, the SDLP’s Alex Attwood, has ”initiated a public process to modify the existing Planning Agreement between the Department and George Best Belfast City Airport.”

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Comments (15)

  1. Bungditin (profile) says:

    As I understand it Minister Poots “careful consideration” consisted of completely ignoring his senior officials and lawyers advice that his decision would not stand up to judicial review!

    Alex Attwood had no choice but to throw the towel in.

    What you fail to highlight Pete is that it is the tax payer who will now pick up the tab for this latest DUP blunder!

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  2. alan56 (profile) says:

    Danger is that City Airport could close. Is that what anyone really wants?

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  3. ForkHandles (profile) says:

    Please expand the city airport. I love it. When I fly home, I always have the last hop going to the city airport. Its easy to get in and out of a small airport and its about 15 mins drive from home. Great. It needs more routes to the main European hub airports though.

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  4. Gopher (profile) says:

    Latest of a long line of short sighted decisions against the City airport. Does the assembly run the country or lawyers and judges living in Cultra. We could have the choice of Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris and Heathrow as hubs for our international flights instead because of the failure to lengthen the runway and cap numbers we are stuck with a costly flight to Heathrow or a 2 hour bus to Dublin due to its monopoly.
    As for passenger duty no other island administration would sit on its backside and have such an albatross hang round of the economy as our useless crowd do. The NI assembly have inertia down to an art form.
    I live below a flight path into Belfast and it does not bother me

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  5. Luke Heer (profile) says:

    I like Belfast City Airport too – it is handy and fifteen minutes closer to my house than Aldergrove. But the noise from the aircraft is dreadful. It is too near houses (roofs ripped off!) and schools not to mention a bird sanctaury and Victoria Park – i.e.Belfast City Airport was built in the wrong place for a full blooded air service using big Boeings and Airbuses. It should stay open but as a small scale business airport. They flirted with Ryanair and obviously had to drop their landings fees to zero for all operators and hope that enough passengers would use it to make up the lost money on parking fees and shopping mall leases – hence the high cost of both. But it is not the parking charges that stop me using City Airport but the disruption to residents and the environmental damage that is unacceptably high.

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  6. pauluk (profile) says:

    BIA has succeeded in stifling level-playing field competition between the two main airports. Kudos to Poots for at least trying to help travellers get a fair deal.

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  7. And now the application to extend the runway is withdrawn.

    Keep with the agenda,Slugger!

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  8. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    I am sure there is a reason, but anyway, Is there a reason why all the flights, or at least all the new flights the airport wanted to run, can/could not take of and land, over the sea instead of over the city.

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  9. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Mr Ambrose said: “As the planning process relating to the runway application is now in its fourth year and some of the information contained within is now out-dated given our current operations, we have taken the decision to withdraw the current application.

    “Our shareholder has therefore reprioritised capital expenditure within its extensive portfolio.

    “Re-submitting the runway application in the future remains an option as the airport reviews its operations on an on-going basis.

    “We are however looking confidently to the future. In recent years our owner has invested £12m in developing the airport facilities including a new departures lounge, increased airside retail space and front of house developments.

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  10. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    O’Leary’s gone and his not coming back this side of he recession?

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  11. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    opps, from the city airport web site, “• Flight routings: the majority of flights must take off and land over Belfast Lough. However, as aircraft are required to take off and land by flying into the wind, the choice of route will depend on the prevailing wind conditions.”,
    Now as someone who cycles the holywood road both ways on a daily bais, i can say the wind tends to blow in a direction that would mean most flights take of over the city.

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  12. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Indeed. one thread mentioning a very noisy Ryanair take had some one on telling us exactly how few take off that way.

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  13. Gopher (profile) says:

    I despair, every economy with any sense of purpose is expanding its air transport infrastructure. We are blessed with an airport in the city beside every major transport route (not that we can get a train station usefully close to it) and private money (shock horror) to improve it and we mess it up. An island race without a clue

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  14. ForkHandles (profile) says:

    Unfortunately as far as public transport goes in NI, the people that are incharge are only capable of overseeing whatever system they have inherited. There doesn’t seem to be anyone who has a plan for growth or someone who recognises gaps and puts in place a plan to fix them. It seems to be a general problem in management level people in NI, no one has any real ability to plan and implement improvements.

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  15. Gopher (profile) says:

    The assembly cant get stuff done period. The greatest economic achievement of the assembly so far is the creation of a black market for free prescription drugs for those that love a hectic weekend. As for growing the economy its obvious that the Lower Newtownards Road and Royal Belfast Golf Club are the engines that are going to drive the other 1.5 million us to prosperity. Its not as if they were putting the airport in Strangford Lough

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