Belfast Telegraph

City Airport: Undaunted pilots wrestle with the winds

By Linda Stewart

They're the heroic masters of the air charged with bringing their passengers safely to land through hail, snow and gale force winds.

Yesterday, the incredible forces buffeting planes as they made the descent into George Best Belfast City Airport were very evident. But the pilots held firm against howling gales, bringing their charges safely to ground with no more than the odd delay.

We watched through sideways hailstones as the skilful pilots helming the smaller Flybe craft kept them on course as they descended out of the gloom over Belfast Lough, with just a sway of the wings and a bounce on the runway to betray the forces being brought to bear.

The company said taking off and landing in such conditions was "all in a day's work".

Last night, flights from Leeds, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Glasgow were all diverting to Belfast City because of 42 knot gusts at Dublin.

Flybe said its aircraft were built, certified and operated to the highest standards and were capable of flying during the poorer weather conditions experienced during the winter months throughout the UK.

Captain Chris Coney-Jones, Flybe's General Manager of Fleets, said: "The safety of our passengers and crew are our obvious number one priority. Taking off and landing in strong and gusty winds is all in a day's work.

"Professional pilots have the skills, training and necessary procedures required to assess and make the required operational decisions to conduct a safe flight."

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