The long-awaited application to extend the runway at George Best Belfast City Airport has been submitted. This news follows on from last month’s capacity increases in the number of annual flights (48,000) and “seats for sale” (2 million in and out) at the harbour airport.
An extra 590m in front of Ikea and Holy Wood Exchange would allow existing aircraft to take off with a full load of fuel and passengers, allowing them to reach further away European and Mediterranean destinations direct from Belfast.
The airport chief executive Brian Ambrose explained:
“We also want to publicly reassure people living in Belfast or close to the flight-path that the runway extension will not involve an increase in flights or a change in the opening hours of the airport. The current planning agreement restricts operating hours from 6:30am to 9:30pm daily and caps air traffic movements at 48,000 per annum.
Furthermore, we would like to make it clear that we have no intention of introducing ‘wide-bodied’ aircraft to our airport. Thus the size of the aircraft currently using the airport will not increase. This is due to the physical limitations of the runway and the airport itself.”
“The runway extension will enable airlines to fly aircraft with heavier fuel loads - that means jets will be noisier and will fly lower ... Whatever assurances the airport may provide, the fact remains that there's nothing to stop airlines using big jets on all 48,000 of its permitted annual flights.”