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Flybe collapse: 'Cancelled' is the word of the day as an eerie silence falls upon normally bustling terminal

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Arrivals board at Belfast City Airport yesterday

Arrivals board at Belfast City Airport yesterday

Diane Dodds with Brian Ambrose

Diane Dodds with Brian Ambrose

Arrivals board at Belfast City Airport yesterday

The skies above Belfast were noticeably quieter on Thursday as the reality of Flybe's collapse sunk in.

At George Best Belfast City Airport the impact around the terminal was clear to see with fewer cars parked, while the normally busy drop-off point for passengers heading to all corners of the UK was deserted.

It was a far cry from what should have been a busy Thursday morning at Belfast City, recently ranked as the UK's third best airport.

Inside it was obvious that nothing was normal, as 'cancelled' was the word of the day on the information boards.

Between 6.30am and 2.30pm there should have been 23 flights taking off to 14 destinations.

Instead, only those travelling on the remaining routes, including London Heathrow, were queuing up for check-in.

Beside them the Flybe counters were abandoned with no staff to be seen, while the airline's familiar purple planes remained firmly on the Tarmac outside.

Most passengers appeared to have heeded the advice from the collapsed carrier to stay away from the airport. For the few who did turn up seeking alternative arrangements, their first thoughts were with those who had lost their jobs, while they dealt with the "inconvenience".

In the airport shops and coffee lounges staff spoke openly of their devastation for their colleagues who have been left out of work.

Close to the front door, a long line of taxis waited for business that wasn't coming and many drivers said they were heading off in search of fares elsewhere.

At one point members of the media outnumbered passengers as Economy Minister Diane Dodds arrived to reflect on "a difficult day for the airport and its staff".

Like the airport's chief executive Brian Ambrose, she was expressing confidence that other airlines would want to come in and rescue the impacted routes.

Neither had too long to wait, as by lunchtime news had filtered through that Loganair would step in to serve Aberdeen and Inverness.

Staff and passengers will be hoping the coming weeks are a blip in the airport's 82-year history as work continues to provide customers with the same level of choice they had before - or better.

Belfast Telegraph