Belfast International Airport
|Belfast International Airport
|IATA: BFS – ICAO: EGAA|
|Owner||ADC & HAS.|
|Operator||Belfast International Airport Ltd.|
|Serves||Belfast, United Kingdom|
|Location||Aldergrove, County Antrim,
|Elevation AMSL||268 ft / 82 m|
Belfast International Airport (IATA: BFS, ICAO: EGAA) is a major airport located 11.5 NM (21.3 km; 13.2 mi) 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 of the airport. 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.
Around 4 million passengers travelled through the airport in 2014, roughly the same as in 2013. 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.
The airport is owned by ADC & HAS, the same company which owns Stockholm Skavsta, Orlando Sanford International Airport, Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, Mariscal Sucre International Airport & Juan Santamaría International Airport.
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 airport operates 24 hours a day and opens the airport on Christmas Day if requested, which is likely.
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.
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
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.
2000 to 2016
Airlines and destinations
Belfast International Airport has a wide range of cargo operators at the airport, they are currently:
|Atlantic Airlines||East Midlands|
|DHL Aviation||East Midlands|
operated by Titan Airways
|Star Air (Maersk)||London-Stansted, East Midlands, Edinburgh|
operated by Swiftair
|Birmingham, Paris-Charles de Gaulle|
|TNT Airways||East Midlands, Liege|
Traffic and Statistics
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. 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 is roughly a return to the 2010 figures, and the total remained static in 2014. 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 2014.
|Updated: 24 March 2015|
| % Change
2013 / 14
|7||Paris Charles de Gaulle, France||79,820||79,907||0|
|8||Tenerife, Canary Islands||78,903||71,631||10|
|9||Lanzarote, Canary Islands||57,167||45,014||27|
|14||Ibiza, Balearic Islands||30,405||21,992||38|
|18||Mahon, Balearic Islands||19,158||17,444||10|
| % Change
2013 / 14
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.
Translink operates a 24-hour number 300 express bus service to the airport from their Europa Buscentre, in the centre of Belfast. The airport can be reached from Derry and the northwest by the Airporter.
The nearest railway station is the Antrim railway station which is 10 km (6.2 mi) from the airport in Antrim, and is serviced by a bus link called the Antrim Airlink (109 A). There are connections to Belfast, Lisburn and Derry/Londonderry. Trains to and from Dublin are via Belfast Central railway station, which has its own Airbus stop. A new station serving the airport could one day 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
- On 24 March 1996, Vickers Viscount G-OPFE of British World Airways was damaged beyond economic repair when it made a wheels-up landing.
- 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.
- 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.
- Airport sale agreed - Belfast International Airport. Belfastairport.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
- "Belfast/Aldergrove - EGAA". Nats-uk.ead-it.com. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- "CAA: UK Annual Airport Statistics". UK Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- "albertis - Belfast International Airport". Belfast International Airport. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
- "easyJet Route Map". easyJet.
- Jess, Mervyn (23 February 2015). "Belfast International Airport 'puts fun back into flying'". BBC News. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- Balkan Sun - Belfast - Bulgaria (Flight only)
- New routes from the UK for 2015 | easyJet
- "Topflight Ski Holidays". Topflight. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- "Charter services to Dalaman, Peagasus Airlines". Broadway Travel. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
- "Thomas Cook Flights - Fly Thomas Cook Airlines". Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- Courier Services in Belfast International Airport | Reviews - Yell
- "Royal Mail Operation Extension". Titan Airways. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
- Number of Passengers, Freight and Mail include both domestic and international counterparts.
- Number of Movements represents total air transport takeoffs and landings during that year.
- "Belfast International Airport Parking - Park and Fly". Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
- "AAIB.gov.uk". AAIB.gov.uk. 23 December 1997. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- "Small bomb found in car at Belfast International Airport". BBC News. 2010-10-31. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
- "Belfast International Airport bomb 'there for a year'". BBC News. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
Media related to Belfast International Airport at Wikimedia Commons