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Car park at Belfast airport under threat after snub from planners

By Rebecca Black

Published 15/12/2015

Karl Airport Parking near Belfast International Airport
Karl Airport Parking near Belfast International Airport

A car park close to Belfast International Airport is under threat after being refused planning permission.

Karl Airport Parking is one of a number of unofficial car parks which operates close to the airport and transfers passengers by coach to the terminal.

However, Karl has been under threat after having an application for planning permission refused. It is now preparing a fresh planning application for Antrim and Newtownabbey Council to plead their case.

It charges significantly less than the official airport car park. To park at Karl this weekend would cost £10, compared to between £15.99 to £21.49 at the official airport car parks.

The row comes a few months after an unofficial car park close to Belfast City Airport was forced to close after being refused permission by Belfast City Council.

Boals closed in August, leaving the official car park at the airport enjoying a monopoly.

Karl Car Park announced yesterday that it is preparing a fresh planning application to submit to the planning committee at Antrim and Newtownabbey Council.

The company revealed that more than 125,000 people had used their car park across the past six years.

"The number of users we have is evidence of the need for a quality alternative to the existing car park services," a company spokesman said.

"Our customers have always commented on the quality and reliability of our service, whereby the bus will collect you from your car as you park in our secure surroundings before delivering you to the terminal door. That is what customers have experienced since 2009 and we want to remove any question mark over planning, so customers can continue to make use of our service."

The spokesman added the company believes competition is important. "Why should the airport have a monopoly on parking cars for users of the airport? Competition keeps everyone on their toes, ensures that customers get good service and keeps prices down," he said.

South Antrim MLA Adrian Watson has given his support to the company, saying he believes there should be more competition for parking at airports to keep the prices down, pointing out that the Belfast airports are not only competing with each other but also Dublin Airport.

"With a major conference coming to Belfast in 2016 we have to make sure we are providing value for money parking at airports or risk losing out to Dublin Airport," he said.

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