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Airport at Aldergrove marks golden jubilee in style with series of events

Belfast International Airport is to celebrate a golden year in 2013.

The airport is planning a series of events to celebrate its 50th year in business, including charity fundraising activities and a photographic exhibition looking back over five decades.

The facility started life as a civil airport in October 1963 when the HRH Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother cut the ribbon on the extensive site at Aldergrove.

The airport now accounts for more than 4,000 jobs and 250 businesses, and contributes in the region of £400m each year to the local economy.

It flies to some 80 domestic and international destinations with more than 200 flights a day on average.

Belfast International Airport managing director John Doran said that the celebrations will look to the future as well as the past.

"We've had to deal with every conceivable challenge, from recession, unpredictable and often appalling weather to business interruptions necessitated by volcanic ash, but throughout it all, our staff have been magnificent," he said.

"Likewise airports are a place of immense fascination for children and we've put together a number of events especially for them. They represent the future and their involvement will be a big part of 2013.

"Our celebration year will cover every facet of what we do. It will involve and engage, be fun-filled and exciting and contribute positively to our wider community.

"Belfast International in 2013 is an utterly different place from when we opened for business in 1963, but our role is ever more central to the social and economic aspirations of Northern Ireland. One thing remains constant, and that is our commitment to continue to serve communities right across the country, to facilitate business and social mobility and to enrich the travelling experience of our customers".