Belfast International Airport

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Belfast International Airport
Belfast/Aldergrove Airport
Belfast int.png
Belfast International Airport - geograph.org.uk - 119152.jpg
IATA: BFSICAO: EGAA
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner ADC & HAS.[1]
Operator Belfast International Airport Ltd.
Serves Belfast, United Kingdom
Location Aldergrove, County Antrim,
Northern Ireland
Elevation AMSL 268 ft / 82 m
Coordinates 54°39′27″N 006°12′57″W / 54.65750°N 6.21583°W / 54.65750; -6.21583Coordinates: 54°39′27″N 006°12′57″W / 54.65750°N 6.21583°W / 54.65750; -6.21583
Website www.belfastairport.com
Map
EGAA is located in Northern Ireland
EGAA
EGAA
Location in Northern Ireland
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
07/25 2,780 9,121 Asphalt
17/35 1,891 6,204 Asphalt
Statistics (2015)
Passengers 4,391,307
Passenger change 14-15 Increase8.9%
Aircraft Movements 52,246
Movements change 14-15 Increase2.5
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[2]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[3]

Belfast International Airport (IATA: BFSICAO: EGAA) is an airport 11.5 NM (21.3 km; 13.2 mi)[2] northwest of Belfast in Northern Ireland. It was formerly known and is still referred to as Aldergrove Airport, after the nearby village of Aldergrove, which lies immediately to the west. Nearly 4.4 million passengers travelled through the airport in 2015, a 9% increase compared with 2014.[3] Belfast International is the busiest airport in Northern Ireland and the second busiest airport on the island of Ireland in terms of passenger numbers after Dublin Airport and is followed by Belfast-City, Cork and Shannon.

Belfast International has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P798) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. The airfield was previously shared with the Royal Air Force base RAF Aldergrove, which closed in 2008; the base is now known as Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station, Aldergrove and both runways are now owned by the airport. The airport is owned by ADC & HAS,[4] the same company which owns Stockholm Skavsta, Orlando Sanford International Airport, Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, Mariscal Sucre International Airport and Juan Santamaría International Airport.

History[edit]

1917-1945[edit]

The airport lies within the parish of Killead, between the small villages of Killead (to the east) and Aldergrove (to the west). The site for the airport was established in 1917 when it was selected to be a Royal Flying Corps training establishment during the First World War. The airport remained open at the end of the war for RAF activity.

Civil traffic began in 1922 when flights were conducted flying newspapers from Chester and a regular civil air service started in 1933. The flight was to Glasgow and was operated by Midland and Scottish Air Ferries. This was subsequently augmented by flights to the Isle of Man, Liverpool and Croydon, then London’s airport.

During the Second World War, Aldergrove remained an RAF station particularly for the Coastal Command. So that the airport could accommodate larger, long-range aircraft, a major works programme was undertaken to replace the four existing runways with two new long paved runways, thereby forming the basis of the layout that still exists at the airport today.

1946-1970[edit]

One of the outcomes of the wartime airfield construction programme was the building of Nutts Corner Airport, just 3 mi (4.8 km) from Aldergrove. On 1 December 1946, the new site replaced Belfast Harbour Airport (now George Best Belfast City Airport) as Northern Ireland’s civil airport, as the site at Sydenham was considered unsuitable.

By the 1950s civil air traffic had outstripped the facilities at Nutts Corner and, in addition, aircraft were being regularly diverted to Aldergrove because of adverse weather conditions. In July 1959 the decision was made to move civil flights to Aldergrove to take advantage of the large airfield and this took place in October 1963.

A new terminal and apron were built with the necessary passenger facilities and the complex was opened by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother on 28 October 1963. In 1966 the first regular jet service to London-Gatwick started and in 1968 Aer Lingus and BOAC introduced scheduled services to New York City via Shannon and Glasgow-Prestwick respectively.

1971-1999[edit]

Curbside of the terminal building.

In 1971 Northern Ireland Airports Limited was formed to operate and develop the airport and its facilities. A major programme of airfield upgrades was undertaken resulting in improvements to runways, taxiways and the parking apron.

A new International Pier was built together with lounge facilities and car parks, while an additional apron was provided to separate the smaller general aviation aircraft from large commercial jets. In the meantime, British Airways launched the first Belfast to Heathrow shuttle service and the first Boeing 747 operated from the airport on a charter service to Toronto via Shannon. The first scheduled service to a European city was started by NLM Cityhopper (now KLM Cityhopper) flying to Amsterdam.

In 1983 the airport, renamed Belfast International, was regularly accommodating the largest civil aircraft in service and with the installation of new technology was capable of all weather operations. In 1985 passenger numbers reached 1.5 million and BMI went into competition with British Airways on the Heathrow service. Further developments to the terminal occurred throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. A new Executive Aviation Terminal was opened in 1987 and the new cargo centre opened in 1991.

The airport was privatised in 1994. TBI became the new owners of the airport on 13 August 1996, by which time annual passenger numbers had reached 2.5 million.

In 1998 Easyjet started operations from the airport with flights to London Luton. Since then the airline has established a large base at Belfast International and a further eleven domestic routes and fifteen direct European scheduled routes have been added to the network, making the airline the largest user of the airport.[5]

Development since the 2000s[edit]

In 2005 Continental Airlines launched the first ever nonstop scheduled service to Newark, which continues to operate under the United Airlines brand.

In July 2013, it was confirmed that abertis would sell Belfast International Airport, Stockholm Skavsta Airport & Orlando Sanford International Airport to ACD and HAS based in the United States.

In February 2015 the airport re-opened the viewing gallery that had been closed for 10 years, it provides a view of the apron and the runways that serve the airport. It also includes live ATC, arrival and departure boards, and a live flightradar. [6]

In January 2016 Ryanair announced that it would launch a new x5 daily service to London Gatwick in direct competition with EasyJet which has operated the route for over 10 years. They also will establish 6 further routes in October 2016 in an investment worth $300 million and will create 750 jobs. Later on in the year Ryanair announced several more routes, including routes to Berlin and Milan.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Passenger[edit]

Airlines Destinations
BH Air Seasonal: Burgas
Bulgaria Air Seasonal charter: Burgas[7]
easyJet Alicante, Amsterdam, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Faro, Glasgow-International, Kraków, Lanzarote, Liverpool, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, London-Stansted, Málaga, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Reykjavík-Keflavík
Seasonal: Barcelona, Bordeaux, Geneva, Ibiza, Jersey, Lyon, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Split
Jet2.com Alicante, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Dubrovnik, Geneva, Girona (begins 26 May 2017),[8] Ibiza, Málaga, Mahon, Murcia, Pisa, Reus, Zakynthos
Seasonal charter: Plovdiv, Salzburg, Toulouse[9]
Meridiana Seasonal charter: Verona[10]
Ryanair Alicante (begins 2 September 2016), Bergamo (begins 3 September 2016), Berlin-Schönefeld (begins 1 September 2016), Gdańsk (begins 2 November 2016), Kraków (begins 30 October 2016), Lanzarote (begins 31 October 2016), London-Gatwick, Málaga (begins 1 September 2016), Tenerife-South (begins 31 October 2016), Warsaw-Modlin (begins 2 November 2016), Wrocław (begins 31 October 2016)
Thomas Cook Airlines Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Bodrum, Cancun (begins 28 June 2017), Dalaman, Heraklion, Ibiza (resumes 8 May 2017), Larnaca, Las Vegas, Orlando–International, Palma de Mallorca, Reus, Varadero
Seasonal charter: Plovdiv (begins 1 January 2017)[11]
Thomson Airways Seasonal: Burgas, Corfu, Dalaman, Gran Canaria (begins 20 May 2017),[12] Ibiza, Lanzarote, Málaga, Mahon, Palma de Mallorca, Reus, Rhodes, Tenerife-South
United Airlines Newark
Virgin Atlantic Seasonal: Orlando–International
Wizz Air Katowice, Vilnius

Cargo[edit]

Belfast International Airport has a wide range of cargo operators at the airport, they are currently:[13]

Airlines Destinations
ASL Airlines Belgium East Midlands, Liège
Atlantic Airlines East Midlands
DHL Aviation
operated by European Air Transport
East Midlands
Jet2.com East Midlands
Royal Mail
operated by Titan Airways
London-Stansted[14]
Star Air (Maersk) East Midlands, Edinburgh
FedEx Feeder
operated by Swiftair
Birmingham, London-Stansted, Paris-Charles de Gaulle

Traffic and statistics[edit]

Traffic figures[edit]

In 2007, the airport hit a record of 5.3 million passengers which is the highest in the airport's history. The figure remained static in 2008 but the figure declined sharply in 2009 to 4.5 million and again in 2010 to 4 million.[3] Figures for 2011 indicated a small rise to 4.1 million, while a larger increase then occurred to 4.5 million in 2012, returning the total to 2009 levels. 2013 figures indicated a decrease to 4 million, which was roughly a return to the 2010 figures and the total remained static in 2014, but increased to nearly 4.4 million in 2015. The airport is the busiest in Northern Ireland and the second busiest airport on the island of Ireland, after Dublin Airport. Belfast International was the 12th busiest airport in the UK by passenger traffic in 2015.[3]

Busiest routes[edit]

A United Airlines Boeing 757-200 at Belfast International.
An Aer Lingus Airbus A320 at Belfast International.
An easyJet Airbus A319 at Belfast International.
Busiest international routes to and from Belfast International Airport (2015)[3]
Rank Airport Passengers
2015
Passengers
2014
 % Change
2014 / 15
1 Palma, Spain 137,405 140,373 Decrease02
2 Málaga, Spain 117,770 116,572 Increase01
3 Alicante, Spain 114,865 113,556 Increase01
4 Faro, Portugal 113,758 115,963 Decrease02
5 Amsterdam, Netherlands 101,894 97,381 Increase05
6 Paris Charles de Gaulle, France 77,969 79,820 Decrease02
7 Lanzarote, Canary Islands 75,784 57,167 Increase033
8 Tenerife, Canary Islands 75,224 78,903 Decrease05
9 Newark, USA 69,258 82,958 Decrease017
10 Kraków, Poland 44,157 44,742 Decrease01
11 Barcelona, Spain 37,924 42,725 Decrease011
12 Reus, Spain 36,304 37,026 Decrease02
13 Dalaman, Turkey 31,395 39,386 Decrease020
14 Ibiza, Balearic Islands 30,514 30,405 Increase00
15 Keflavik, Iceland 26,133 1,025 Increase02450
16 Geneva, Switzerland 25,552 25,891 Decrease01
17 Katowice, Poland 23,155 - New Route0
18 Vilnius, Lithuania 21,777 - New Route0
19 Gran Canaria, Canary Islands 20,690 9,105 Increase0127
20 Nice, France 20,081 19,503 Increase03
Busiest domestic routes to and from Belfast International Airport (2015)[3]
Rank Airport Passengers
2015
Passengers
2014
 % Change
2014 / 15
1 London Gatwick 470 344 434 305 Increase08
2 Liverpool 426 106 418 389 Increase02
3 London Stansted 323 659 306 883 Increase05
4 London Luton 295 292 240 885 Increase023
5 Glasgow International 266 275 241 789 Increase010
6 Edinburgh 262 773 235 552 Increase012
7 Bristol 246 504 230 833 Increase07
8 Manchester 224 497 204 987 Increase010
9 Newcastle 219 499 196 739 Increase012
10 Birmingham 196 202 179 503 Increase09

Transport links[edit]

Road[edit]

Travellers by car from Belfast reach the airport via the M2 motorway. The airport operates four car parks, three on-site car parks and one off-site car park. The on-site short stay and main car parks are situated within easy walking distance of the terminal building and an on demand courtesy bus operates to and from the on-site long stay car park. The off-site short or long stay car park called 'Park and Fly' is located just before the main entrance to the airport and is also serviced by a courtesy bus.[17]

Bus[edit]

Translink operates a number 300 express bus service to the airport from their Europa Buscentre, in the centre of Belfast operating daily from 04.15 until 23.30hrs. The airport can be reached from Derry and the northwest by the Airporter.

Train[edit]

The nearest railway station is Antrim railway station, 10 km (6.2 mi) from the airport in Antrim and serviced by a bus link, the Antrim Airlink (109A). There are connections to Belfast, Lisburn and Derry. Trains to and from Dublin are via Belfast Central railway station. A new station serving the airport could be constructed on the mothballed Lisburn-Antrim railway line, as set out in the airport master plan. This line remains in serviceable condition and passes close to the airport terminal. It has also been listed in a public review of the future of Northern Ireland railways, which would see the airport being served by train by the year 2020.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 24 March 1996, Vickers Viscount G-OPFE of British World Airways was damaged beyond economic repair when it made a wheels-up landing.[18]
  • On 23 December 1997, a Maersk Air Boeing 737 aircraft operated by British Airways and with 63 passengers and 6 crew on board was forced to return to the airport after a major failure in the starboard engine. The pilot declared an emergency and the aircraft returned to the airport safely on one engine. It was later found that an engine seal had failed, causing catastrophic engine failure and slight damage to the engine cowling and under-wing surface. The subsequent investigation uncovered design and manufacturing defects with the seals and led to the incorporation of new design seals in all future engines.[19]
  • On 31 October 2010, a bomb was found inside a Toyota Carina parked in the long-stay car park and Army bomb disposal experts dismantled it. It is believed that the car and bomb had been in the car park since 2009. It was only discovered when workers were getting ready to tow the vehicle out of the car park. Many passengers had to spend the night in hotels or arrange alternative transport as they were unable to get to their cars.[20][21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Airport sale agreed - Belfast International Airport. Belfastairport.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  2. ^ a b "Belfast/Aldergrove - EGAA". Nats-uk.ead-it.com. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Aircraft and passenger traffic data from UK airports". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 25 March 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "albertis - Belfast International Airport". Belfast International Airport. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "easyJet Route Map". easyJet. 
  6. ^ Jess, Mervyn (23 February 2015). "Belfast International Airport 'puts fun back into flying'". BBC News. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Balkan Sun - Belfast - Bulgaria (Flight only)
  8. ^ http://www.jet2.com/timetable
  9. ^ "Topflight Ski Holidays". Topflight. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  10. ^ https://www.topflight.ie/
  11. ^ https://www.travel-solutions.co.uk/tour/new-for-2017-learn-to-ski-4-orlovets-hotel-pamporovo/285/
  12. ^ "Thomson Airways". TUI Group. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  13. ^ Courier Services in Belfast International Airport | Reviews - Yell
  14. ^ "Royal Mail Operation Extension". Titan Airways. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Number of Passengers, Freight and Mail include both domestic and international counterparts.
  16. ^ Number of Movements represents total air transport takeoffs and landings during that year.
  17. ^ "Belfast International Airport Parking - Park and Fly". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  19. ^ "AAIB.gov.uk". AAIB.gov.uk. 23 December 1997. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  20. ^ "Small bomb found in car at Belfast International Airport". BBC News. 2010-10-31. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  21. ^ "Belfast International Airport bomb 'there for a year'". BBC News. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Belfast International Airport at Wikimedia Commons