Northern Ireland

Poots ponders Belfast airport seats move

George Best Belfast City Airport
Image caption Mr Poots says he may lift the 'seats for sale' restriction at the airport

Environment Minister Edwin Poots has said he may lift the "seats for sale" restriction at George Best Belfast City Airport.

Currently no more than two million seats can be sold from the airport in a year.

The minister has announced an eight-week consultation period for the proposal.

He said the airport's permitted operating hours would not be affected if the restriction is eased.

Liz Fawcett of Belfast City Airport Watch expressed disappointment that Mr Poots was considering lifting the restriction.

"The annual "seats for sale" limit is crucial in ensuring that many of the aircraft using the airport are small and medium-size planes," she said.

"The removal of this important safeguard would simply permit many more of the existing large planes to wreak further misery on residents."

Mr Poots stressed that he had "not made a final decision" and that he would "carefully consider the consultation responses" before doing so.