Northern Ireland

NI deadlock is halting investment says Belfast International Airport boss

Airport Image copyright charles mcquillan
Image caption Belfast International Airport's managing director said it was important the devolution of corporation tax was not delayed

The head of Belfast International Airport has said the current political deadlock in Northern Ireland threatens to hold up potential investment.

The government has said it will not hand powers on corporation tax to Stormont unless the parties reach agreement on welfare reform.

The airport's Managing Director Graham Keddie said it was important there were no delays.

He was speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Business programme.

"Decisions have to be made, things have to be done in the business world," he said.

"We can't hold back and operate at a different speed.

"Unless we take part in the wider business world and say we're open for business, how are the executive going to move forward and how's it going to assist Invest NI in getting business and investment here into Northern Ireland?"

Meanwhile, the businessman who chaired Northern Ireland's air route development fund, Bill McGinnis, has said the Stormont executive should "seriously consider" setting up a new scheme to attract more direct flights.

"With the new economic development model we're now looking towards, with corporation tax, minister Foster has to decide where best to place her bets to get the best return," he said.

"But I think there's probably an opportunity to do that."

He added that the success of the first fund, which also established the Belfast to New York flight, could be repeated.

He said: "That £4m last time generated serious money for the economy, and if you imagine the extra jobs here, those passengers helped create inward tourists.

"All that money was spent in Northern Ireland and if you didn't have that, the people wouldn't be here."

Inside Business is on BBC Radio Ulster on Sundays at 13:30 GMT

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