Northern Ireland

Belfast City airport passenger cap discussed

Belfast City Airport
Image caption Belfast City Airport wants to extend the north east end of the runway

Proposals to lift the cap on passenger numbers at George Best Belfast City Airport will be discussed at Stormont on Tuesday.

The Environment Committee will hear from residents' groups and airport officials.

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

In June, the environment minister launched a consultation on the effect of removing the limit on passenger numbers.

A public inquiry into the proposed runway extension at George Best Belfast City Airport was delayed in August amid a dispute over a noise pollution report submitted by the airport.

The airport wants to extend the north east end of the runway by 590m while retracting 120m from the south west.

A statement from the airport said this could create 100 jobs and £120m in tourism revenue.

Environmental restrictions

However, residents are opposed to the extension, fearing it will lead to bigger and noisier planes using the runway.

There have been 1,486 letters of objection and petitions with 499 names and 2,241 letters of support sent to the authorities over the scheme.

Dr Liz Fawcett, Chair of the Belfast City Airport Watch Steering Group, said that while the group welcomed the fact that "the airport is beginning to listen to local residents" the event would not make life any better for people who suffered as a result of aircraft noise.

She added: "The real responsibility for tackling the noise issue lies with Environment Minister Edwin Poots - he needs to say 'no' to any further expansion and to start enforcing the environmental restrictions under which the airport is meant to operate. "

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