05/08/2010

'Correct Height' In City Tile Incident: CAA

Belfast City Airport is facing renewed controversy after a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) report into claims of a low flying plane in Belfast has found it was actually at the correct altitude.

But this has sparked further fears from east Belfast residents who said that it could easily happen again.

The CAA said it had not been possible to conclude the reason for the damaged roofs.

"The flight profile was examined by an investigator and no anomalies have been identified," a statement said.

But Dr Liz Fawcett, Chair of the Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW) Steering Group, said the report's conclusions only increased residents' concerns about safety.

"The CAA report does not rule out the possibility that the roof tiles were blown off by a plane," she said, "nor does it advance any alternative theory as to the cause of this incident.
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"If the aircraft in question was flying at the correct height at the time, that's of considerable concern, because it suggests similar incidents could easily happen again.

"This was the third such incident in the space of nine months in that particular area which is very close to the runway, and we remain sceptical about the level of risk to which residents in that area are being subjected as planes come in to land.

"The airport's own information, presented to residents' groups at a recent meeting of the Airport Forum, indicates that aircraft are flying at less than 300 feet above the ground when they come over that area - it's not surprising that many people there are anxious that an even worse incident could happen," she said.

The report followed claims that a plane had caused damage to roofs in Parkgate Drive, East Belfast on 8 June 2010.

(BMcC/GK)

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