14/06/2012

City Airport Hits Back At 'Ludicrous' Claims

A spokeswoman for George Best Belfast City Airport has hit back at claims that it is not sensible for the capital to have two airports 14 miles away.

Jim McAuslan of the British Airline Pilots Association told MPs from the Northern Ireland Affairs committee that it would be "brave" to choose between the city airport and the International Airoprt at Aldergrove in order to concentrate resources.

But Katie Best from Belfast City Airport has dismissed the comments as "ludicrous", "completely irrelevant", "utter rubbish," which would put jobs at risk.

She said Mr McAuslan had made "an extremely irresponsible statement" and both Belfast's airports were profitable.

She said: "In a hypothetical situation where you are talking about only having one airport in Northern Ireland, there would be a debate, yes, to say that a 24 hour airport would be the one that would be sustained but there would also be a very strong argument to say maintain the airport that people prefer to use and that's Belfast City Airport."

Uel Hoey from Belfast International Airport welcomed BALPA's "professional view" and told the BBC there should be "an open debate" on the topic.

He said the industry was getting "very badly bogged down in theories of competitive value between local airports".

(NE)

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