Northern Ireland

Committee recommend passenger cap move is deferred

The Environment Committee has recommended the decision over the cap on passenger numbers at George Best Belfast City Airport is deferred.

The committee made the decision following meetings with residents and airport officials at Stormont.

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

Environment Minister Edwin Poots proposed plans to remove the current cap.

Committee chair, Cathal Boylan, said on Tuesday that more public consultation was needed, and therefore they would recommend the minister take the decision in tandem with a public inquiry into a runway extension at the facility.

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.

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, welcomed the news.

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