Belfast Telegraph

Security firm expands as airport prepares for arrival of Ryanair

By Rachel Martin

Airport security company ICTS is creating 40 new jobs at Belfast International Airport.

But those in charge at the airport say that even more growth could be seen if Air Passenger Duty (APD) was scrapped.

ICTS says the recruitment and training process will be completed ahead of Ryanair's move to the airport - which the airline has said could lead to up to 750 new jobs.

The 40 posts will generate £650,000 in wages in the Northern Ireland economy, meaning an average salary of £16,250.

ICTS says the additional employees will bring to 250 the size of its workforce at Belfast International Airport. And the firm said the jobs were being created without any government support.

Jim Finegan, operations director ICTS (UK), said: "Growth at the airport means greater demand for our professional aviation security services. It's a win-win for all.

"ICTS have been at the airport since 2000 and this is easily the most exciting period of growth we have seen."

Belfast International Airport operations director Alan Whiteside said the new jobs are the first to flow from the planned arrival of Ryanair and the increase in seat capacity by existing airlines easyJet, Jet2, United and Wizz.

"We're ramping up for a spring and summer with passenger activity reaching new peaks," he said.

"We've recruited 18 new apprentices within the past year or so and we expect our other supply and retail companies to take on additional employees to match demand.

"These are exciting times for Belfast International. What's really good about these jobs is that they are being created, not promised, at no cost whatsoever to the taxpayer.

"We're making headway as an economic hub for Northern Ireland.

"It's a pity those who drive job creation and investment don't realise the important role the airport plays in re-balancing our economy.

"I have no doubt that we could achieve even greater results if ministers grasped the nettle of APD and took steps to consign it to the bin."

APD on economy flights currently costs between £13 and £71 - and those in favour of scrapping it have said that it would create a major economic boost to the province.

But a report from the Northern Ireland Centre for Economic Policy (NICEP) said the overall benefits of abolishing APD on flights would not cover the amount lost from the Executive's block grant and that the case for abolishing APD was not strong enough.

Meanwhile, Dublin Airport saw record passenger numbers in 2015, with 25 million passengers flying from the airport last year, up three million.

The airport confirmed that passenger numbers from Northern Ireland had increased again in 2015, but did not have an exact figure.

APD was abolished in the Republic two years ago, a factor cited in the growing success of Dublin Airport.

Belfast Telegraph