Belfast International Airport car park flooding: Boss pledges 'no one will lose a penny'
The managing director of Belfast International Airport has rejected claims that up to 1,000 vehicles in one of its car parks were flooded in last month's torrential rain.
Writing in today's Belfast Telegraph, Graham Keddie said the actual number of vehicles affected by the deluge was 35.
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He confirmed that the customers concerned are being compensated by the airport and added that, where required, passengers were provided with transport home at no cost.
A total of 32 vehicles in the long stay car park were affected by a month's worth of rain in just a few hours, while a further three were damaged in the park & fly facility, he said.
Mr Keddie was responding to reports on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show that the true figure could be well in excess of 100 cars.
Some customers said staff had told them that up to 1,000 vehicles could have been affected.
Mr Keddie apologised for what happened and pledged that "no one will be out one penny" because of the rain on July 28.
"We are sorry for what happened and are working hard to deliver outcomes that will go towards alleviating distress and disruption," Mr Keddie said.
Nolan was inundated with callers yesterday to say they were affected, adding that their insurance companies had written off their vehicles and increased premiums.
Ian Crowder from the AA urged those who believed their car had been flooded to take it to a garage as soon as possible.
One caller named Nick said he had been informed by his insurance company that his car is likely to be written off due to the damage.
He added that he had only heard from the airport's legal representatives.
"I have heard absolutely nothing else from the airport. I have had a couple of messages from the solicitors for me to give them my insurance details. Apart from that, nothing," he said.
He added that a salvage professional who came to take his car away for the insurance company told him in excess of 100 vehicles had been flooded.
He said: "I don't blame the airport for there being a flood.
"It was quite clearly an unprecedented amount of rain and there was flooding throughout Northern Ireland.
"It is the way the airport has subsequently decided to treat me as a customer.
"My car was there for 13 days after the flooding incident and they had my details.
"I'm not asking them to try and assess my car or to work out whether my car has been flooded or not.
"But I don't think it is beyond the duty of care to just inform me that there had been an incident and to make arrangements not to potentially drive an unsafe car home with my family in it."
Another caller, Emma, told of how she arrived back at the airport in the early hours after a holiday only to discover that her car had been deluged.
She said: "The car park was full and they put us into an overflow car park, which was actually a field.
"When the heavy rain happened on that particular Saturday my sister had sent us some pictures through WhatsApp of the terrible weather and I thought: 'Oh, my car is in a field in the airport, I am never going to get it out whenever I get it home next week'.
"I emailed the car park twice and left two messages for someone to call me back and they didn't. So I presumed everything was fine.
"I arrived home 3am, got into the car, wondered what the smell was, and then realised there was about a foot of water in it."
She said her car had now been written off.
She also claimed that when her husband returned to the car the next day to clear it out, a member of staff at Belfast International Airport told him nearly 1,000 vehicles had been affected.