20/10/2010

Belfast City Airport's Seat Cap 'May Remain'

The boss of George Best Belfast City Airport has been trying to reassure residents that any change in the airport's controversial 'Seats for Sale' limit wouldn't mean more aircraft used.

No more than two million seats can be sold from the airport in a year, but NI Environment Minister Edwin Poots has proposed plans to remove the current cap.

But, after a meeting yesterday with both the umbrella residents' group, Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW), and the airport's Chief Executive Brian Ambrose, a halt may now be called to removing the crucial noise regulation governing the busy airport.

At the same time Brian Ambrose remains adamant over seat limits: "Once again I assure local residents that the removal of the Seats for Sale limit will not mean more or larger aircraft as this is governed in the planning agreement which limits the number of flights to and from the airport to 48,000 in any 12 month period," he said.
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But the Minister's own Environment Committee has now recommended that his decision over removing the cap on passenger numbers be deferred.

They made the recommendation following the meetings with the residents and airport officials at Stormont on Tuesday with Committee Chair, Cathal Boylan, saying more public consultation was needed.

He said they would recommend the Minister take the decision in tandem with a separate public inquiry into a runway extension at the facility.

The public inquiry into the proposed runway extension at George Best Belfast City Airport was delayed in August amid a dispute over a noise pollution report submitted by the airport.

The airport wants to extend the northeast end of the runway by 590m while retracting 120m from the southwest.

See NI Business on: City Airport's Seat Limit 'May Stay' for more details.

(BMcC/GK)

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