OBE honour for city airport chief
The chief executive of George Best Belfast City airport has received a New Year Honour.
Brian Ambrose, 51, from Newtownards, Co Down, has overseen rapid expansion at the east Belfast airfield but has also angered some residents opposed to a runway extension which they fear would create extra disturbance. He was recognised with an OBE for services to the aviation industry.
Also honoured were Dr Peter Fitzgerald, CBE, managing director of Co Antrim-based Randox Laboratories, for services to business in Northern Ireland.
Head of the Northern Ireland civil service Bruce Robinson leads about 25,000 civil servants and is spearheading cross-administration efforts to deal with the water crisis which has left thousands of homes without supplies. He is the most senior adviser to the First and Deputy First Ministers and becomes a Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB).
Mr Ambrose said: "I feel deeply privileged and wish to pay tribute to my family and colleagues.
"Over the last 35 years I've had the opportunity to work with some amazingly dedicated people within the aviation sector.
"This honour is a reflection on the achievements of those people, especially at Belfast City airport."
The airport has been increasing passenger numbers and wants to extend its runway which it says could create extra jobs and generate more tourism revenue. A public inquiry is to be held.
The residents' group opposing the extension plan has welcomed the inquiry. Belfast City Airport Watch said an extension would create an international airport right on Belfast's doorstep. Mr Ambrose has attempted to reach out to those community groups on environmental and operational concerns about airline traffic.
Mr Fitzgerald founded medical diagnostics company Randox in 1982. Since then the company has grown to a workforce of over 750 and has developed into a globally established business with offices in Europe, the US and the Far East. The company sells its products in over 130 countries and spends around £7 million a year on research and development.