Belfast International Airport is an airport located some 15 miles west of Belfast in Northern Ireland . Belfast International Airport is also known as Aldergrove, after the village of that name lying immediately to the west of the airport; locals sometimes refer to the airport as “Nutt’s Corner.” Belfast International Airport shares its runways with the Royal Air force base RAF Aldergrove, which otherwise has its own facilities.
More than 4.82 million passengers (2.1% of passengers at all UK airports) traveled through Belfast International Airport in 2005 (a 1.7 million/54.1% increase over 2000). Belfast International Airport is the 11th busiest airport in the UK in terms of passenger numbers and it is the busiest airport in Northern Ireland. Belfast International Airport is also the second busiest airport on the island of Ireland (after Dublin Airport’s 18.4mill passengers).
Belfast International Airport has transatlantic flights, with scheduled flights to New York – Newark, Orlando (with two airlines), Toronto (with two airlines) and Vancouver as well as flights to many major European cities. There are chartered flights to Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, the USA and many European destinations.
On 20 th of June, 2006, 13.5kg of cocaine was seized in Belfast International Airport. The seizure, valued at around £3m, was the largest in Irish history. Two German men were arrested on suspicion of trafficking. It is believed they were boarding a flight to Luton Airport and intended to travel onwards to mainland Europe.
Belfast International Airport is one of the most important regional airfreight centers in the UK, handling up to 50,000 tons of air cargo in 2004. Due to Northern Ireland’s relative isolation from both mainland UK and Europe, superior airfreight services are vital. BIA plays host to a long-established nightly Royal Mail operation. The major cargo operators are: DHL Worldwide Express and TNT Airways.
Serving over 4.8 million passengers in 2005, Belfast International Airport is the principal gateway to Northern Ireland. Belfast International Airport has experienced steady growth over the past few years.
Easyjet began scheduled operations to Geneva, Inverness, Palma (Majorca,), Berlin Schoenefeld and Rome Ciampino in summer 2005, bringing their total number of destinations served from Belfast to 19. With over three million passengers traveling through their Belfast base per year, it has become one of easyJet’s fastest growing bases, and now accounts for 12% of easyJet’s entire network. Jet2 has also recently increased operations at their Belfast base. Their Blackpool service was increased to daily thought out the summer period, (Jet2.com reported “amazing demand” on the route since it was launched). New routes to Pisa and Murcia start in May and July respectively. Jet 2 have also announced a new route to Tenerife which is due to start in October using Boeing 757 aircraft. In May 2006, new airline Manx2 announced twice daily flights to the Isle of Man.
Transatlantic Success: In its first year of operation Continental carried approximately 85,000 passengers on its Belfast – New York route, an estimated 40 per cent of whom have been inbound US passengers visiting Northern Ireland on business or leisure trips. The figure exceeds the 70,000 target set by the airline for the first year of operation. In March the airline, announced an increase in the frequency of the Belfast to New York service from five flights a week to seven due to demand. The daily service operates from March to October and five times a week in winter. Zoom Airlines announced in Feb 2006 that their route to Toronto had been “hugely successful” and that direct scheduled flights would occur all year round. June 2006 also saw the first direct scheduled service from Belfast to Vancouver. On 28 July Flyglobespan announced that they are to commence a scheduled service from Belfast to Orlando. Weekly flights are to start in November using Boeing 767 aircraft.
Top Destinations: The most popular domestic destination from Belfast is London followed by Liverpool .
By Road: Travellers by car from Belfast reach the airport by travelling north on the M2 motorway, turning off at junction 5 and then via A57 for 7 miles to the airport. From the north and north west the route is easiest found by coming south on the M2 again to junction 5.
By Bus: Translink operates a frequent bus service (Airbus 300) to Belfast International Airport from their Europa Buscentre, in the centre of Belfast . This is usually considered the most convenient method of transport to the city centre.
Belfast International Airport can be reached from Derry/Londonderry and the North West by the Airporter. This coach service operates 7 days a week and an hourly service from Monday-Friday.
By Train: The nearest railway station, 6 miles from Belfast International Airport I Antrim, with no connecting bus. There are connections to Belfast , Lisburn and Derry/Londonderry. Trains to and from Dublin are via Belfast Central Station, which has its own Airbus stop. Speculation remains that a new station could one day be constructed on the mothballed Antrim-Lisburn railway line, which remains in serviceable condition and passes close to the airport terminal.