Airport wants new curbs on noise
Restrictions on the number of seats for sale from George Best Belfast City Airport could be replaced by noise control measures, environment minister Alex Attwood said.
The airport in East Belfast has lodged proposals to replace the passenger cap with one controlling noise.
Some residents support the current restriction because it limits the number of larger and noisier planes which the airport can operate.
Mr Attwood said: "My ultimate aim is the establishment of an effective noise management system at the airport which achieves the right balance between the social and economic benefits of airport expansion and the need to protect the environment and quality of life for local residents.
"I intend to be decisive and remove doubt over noise management at the airport as quickly as possible."
Under the 2008 modified planning agreement between the airport and the DOE, operators using the airport may not sell more than two million scheduled flight seats from the airport in any period of 12 months.
Mr Attwood announced a public consultation on the proposal by the airport to modify the agreement. The announcement follows submission of the airport's proposals for a noise management system.
The airport has requested that the seats for sale restriction is removed from the agreement and replaced with a noise control cap and other measures. The request includes economic and environmental appraisals with other supporting information.
The consultation period will begin on April 13 and end on June 8. Representations can be submitted online from April 13.
The airport announced last week that it was dropping its application to extend the length of its runway and focusing on other investment priorities after the planning process dragged on several years.