Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

World leaders arrive for G8 summit

Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe waves as he arrives in Belfast

G8 leaders have begun arriving in Northern Ireland for the G8 summit.

David Cameron flew into the Aldergrove military flying station in Co Antrim. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe landed at Belfast International Airport amid one of the biggest security operations ever launched there.

Mr Abe's Boeing 747-400 touched down on the newly re-surfaced main runway and he was accompanied by key advisers and Japanese media, an airport spokeswoman said.

Mr Abe is the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit Northern Ireland. Other G8 leaders will arrive at the airport on Monday.

Its managing director John Doran said: "Just as this G8 summit is an opportunity to show the world what Northern Ireland has to offer, so too is it an occasion to promote the airport and its many strengths.

"We have the space and the capability to accommodate some of the largest and most modern aircraft in the world and this global event clearly demonstrates the importance of international connectivity and the role we perform in the wider economy.

"Belfast International has worked closely with all the delegations to iron out logistics and to guarantee a seamless operation for the Fermanagh summit."

The G8 is the single most important event in the 50 years the International Airport has been in operation. In the past, the airport has accommodated royalty and US Presidents but this is the first time so many world leaders will have used the facility at the same time.

Mr Doran added: "This global event easily eclipses anything we have done in the past. I'm very proud of the crucial role we are playing in this historic event, and the work of our staff who made the whole experience look very much part of their everyday routine."

Mr Abe was greeted by Northern Ireland Executive Ministers Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill.

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