25/05/2007

Derry airport closes due to safety failures

The closure of Derry City Airport was due to a “systematic failure of safety management” according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The licence of City of Derry was suspended last night after an inspection raised concerns about the drainage of the runway, the facility for parking planes and its bird control plan.

The airport closed at midnight and Ryanair which operates a service between Londonderry and London Stansted, cancelled its flight.

British Airways flights to Dublin and Glasgow were also advised to check in at City of Derry to board buses that will take them to Belfast International where the flights have been rescheduled.

The city council run airport also has had to suspend services to Bristol and Liverpool. It also operates package holiday flights.

The CAA said the suspension was provisional and it was up to the airport to fix the situation.

In a statement, the airport management said they were “100% commmited to maintaining the highest safety standards”.

“Following the public inquiry in April, the airport authority sought clarification from the CAA on a number of matters relating to existing variations with an expectation of continued operation,” a spokesperson said.

“While this is an exceptional step by the CAA, the airport is confident that a position can be reached to ensure the airport is operational as soon as possible."

(JM/SP)

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