Belfast Telegraph

Time to set straight the crossed wires over airport

By Paul Connolly

A chance comes today to shed some light on a commonly held misbelief in Northern Ireland, one that was inadvertently reproduced by us last week.

Reader W Savage writes in to correct a statement in the paper on January 5 that the old Nutts Corner Airport is now Belfast International Airport.

This is not, of course, the case. Aldergrove is, in fact, six miles away from the remnants of Nutts Corner airfield.

Nutts Corner has been a civil airfield, then a military airfield (RAF Nutts Corner) and it was then a civil airport again during the 1960s.

It was at one stage known as Belfast-Nutts Corner Airport.

The whole thing is, of course, hopelessly complicated by the existence of the former RAF Aldergrove, which stands adjacent to the now Belfast International Airport at Aldergrove, Co Antrim, sharing the same runways but using different facilities.

At the risk of doing everyone’s head in, I should also point |out that RAF Aldergrove is |no more, having adopted the name Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station Aldergrove some time ago.

Phew! Hopefully I haven’t mangled any of that along the way, and I’m sure readers will hold me to account if I have.

So I guess that it’s easy to understand how people can get confused regarding the existence of three airports in various military and civilian guises within six miles of an area near Antrim called Aldergrove.

That said, however, our statement that “a Vickers Viking |aircraft crashed at Nutts Corner airfield in Co Antrim, now Belfast International Airport” is indeed wholly incorrect.

Apologies for the error.

That crash was the single worst air tragedy in Northern Ireland. I have a great deal of sympathy with the relatives’ plea for a memorial to mark the spot where so many people died.

So, if anyone up there at Stormont is listening …

Meanwhile, as the horse-trading over the post-Leveson landscape continues, spare a thought for the old Press Complaints Commission, which is on its way out to be replaced by … well, we’re not quite sure at the moment. It turns out that satisfaction with the process was actually very good, according to a survey of people who used its service.

Eighty six per cent of respondents said that PCC staff were either very helpful, helpful, or satisfactory; 79% thought that their complaint had been handled (in terms of thoroughness) either very well, well, or satisfactorily, and 68% of people thought that the time taken by the PCC to deal with their complaint was about right.

It would be a shame if this valuable service was lost in the din over Leveson.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph