George Best City Airport should be geared up for foggy days

Consumer alert!  The 3.05 p.m. BA flight from Belfast City to Heathrow took off from Aldergrove at 8. 15 and arrived an hour later, five hours late.

Fog was the culprit- no one’s fault.

Except that the BA captain told us that they diverted to Aldergrove because International has the right gear to allow planes to land automatically in fog and City hasn’t.

Surely this would be a worthwhile investment for City to make as it competes to be the premier shuttle airport for the province.

BA also rebooked quite a number of onward passengers who had missed connecting flights while we were in the air. My neighbour was an Indian mother with a seven year old son and a mountain of luggage. She had spent Christmas and New Year in Belfast for the birth of a nephew and must have been mightily relieved. This may be standard in the circumstances but the whole situation  should be monitored to create the best possible impression with overseas visitors.

Pity the poor Flybe passengers. One lot  booked for Southampton were driven to Dublin. They were the lucky ones. Four of their afternoon flights from City to other regional airports were cancelled.

One quibble with Aldergrove. They accommodated BA right enough,  but our plane was “back of the queue” for the refuelling truck. The wait took about an hour. Fair enough if absolutely necessary,  but Aldergrove looked near-empty except for one Easyjet flight  to Stansted. It would surely be good business for Aldergrove’s refuelling company to get their finger out faster too. As well as keeping that fog equipment in the best of nick.



Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London