Belfast Telegraph

City Airport hoping to grow food and drink facilities in development drive

By John Mulgrew

Belfast City Airport could expand its retail, food and drink offering, plans have revealed.

The airport is looking at expanding and adding additional space on the first floor area of the building, according to documents filed online.

A spokeswoman told this newspaper: "Management at Belfast City Airport believes there are opportunities to take the business forward over the coming years and has commenced the preliminary process of progressing a number of development plans."

The preliminary plans include the reconfiguration of some of the existing floorspace within the terminal building.

A letter from planners said: "On the first floor, there will be a net increase of retail and food beverage space.

"To accommodate the net increase, some of the existing office space on the first floor will be relocated to the ground floor of the terminal building.

"The existing office space on the ground floor will be internally reconfigured."

There are already a number of places to eat and drink at the airport, including sandwich shop O'Briens, Costa and Starbucks.

The airport dealt with just under 2.7million passengers last year.

Flybe now makes up 60% of the airport's business, alongside flagship carriers British Airways and Aer Lingus, which, between them, fly nine times each day to London Heathrow. That alone accounts for around 700,000 passengers each year. It also has some sun and city links, with KLM flying to Amsterdam and Icelandair to Reykjavik.

Meanwhile, easyJet has celebrated a landmark in Belfast, with 50 million passengers using the carrier since it first came to Northern Ireland.

The airline launched services from Belfast International Airport in 1998 and now flies to 28 destinations.

Ali Gayward, UK country manager for easyJet, said: "This is a fantastic milestone for us.

"We have come a long way since the launch of our first flight 19 years ago between Belfast and Luton, and since then Belfast has been a key market for easyJet.

"We have added a significant number of extra seats this summer, which allows us to continue to provide affordable, convenient connections for our customers, whether they're travelling on business or leisure."

Uel Hoey, business development director at Belfast International Airport, added: "Put simply, easyJet implemented a social and economic revolution in Northern Ireland in 1998 through the introduction of generally available, affordable air fares, and has become an intrinsic part of our society over the past two decades."

Belfast Telegraph