Planning Portal

Planning Belfast City Airport Future

Published on Fri, 19 Nov 2004
Environment Minister, Angela Smith, today announced the launch of an open public consultation exercise on Belfast City Airport’s request for a review of its current Planning Agreement.
Angela Smith said: "Following the release of the Government’s White Paper, ‘The Future of Air Transport’, in December 2003, Belfast City Airport management requested a review of the Planning Agreement which governs its operations. This Planning Agreement covers a number of key operational issues including the number of seats for sale, operating hours, air transport movements, noise and flight paths. The airport management’s request for a review is specifically in relation to the seats for sale restriction.
"It is important that my Department receives the views of all stakeholders, interested parties and members of the public, so that these can be carefully considered as part of the review process.
"I will take a decision on the need for a Public Inquiry when I receive all submissions and I will consider the relevant key issues raised as part of this open and transparent public consultation process."
Details of the consultation process will be published in the main national and local newspapers. In addition, specific comments will be invited from Belfast, Castlereagh and North Down Councils, as well as other key public representatives, stakeholders, local residents groups and other interest groups. DOE will hold focus meetings as necessary with any interested party or parties at local district venues to explain the background and current position and also to listen to local concerns.

Notes to Editors

The current Planning Agreement with Belfast City Airport (BCA) was made on 22 January 1997 and covers the following key issues:
  1. Seats

    • Operators using the airport are not permitted to offer for sale more than 1.5 million seats on scheduled flights in any 12-month period;
  2. Operating Hours

    • Permitted hours: 6:30 a.m. – 9.30 p.m. local time
    • Prohibited hours: 9:30 p.m. – 6:30 a.m. local time
    • Extended hours: 9:30 p.m. – 11:59 p.m. local time

      Note: Extended hours are only to be used in exceptional circumstances for delayed aircraft. However, no restriction shall apply to diverted aircraft, which may use the airport at any time.
  3. Air Transport Movements (ATMs)

    • No more than 45,000 ATMs in any 12-month period.
  4. Noise

    • Monitor noise using indicative noise contours agreed computer models.
  5. Approaches

    • To maintain a bias in favour of approaches and climb-outs over Belfast Lough.
    • Officials in both DOE and DRD have already been considering how best to take this review forward. An initial submission has been received from BCA and a meeting was held for clarification purposes.
Further details are available on this website and it is intended to post all submissions received plus any other relevant material as part of this open and transparent consultation process.
Anyone wishing to submit comments electronically can do so by e-mail to
The consultation will close on 14 January 2005.
Further news media enquiries contact DOE Press Office tel 028 9054 0003.
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