Fast Track Leader
Page Content

Airport History


  •  The first passenger flight from Northern Ireland took place in August 1910. The pilot was the legendary Harry Ferguson, the passenger a Miss Rita Marr
  • Regular civil air services did not begin until 31 May 1933, carrying up to 4 passengers twice daily between Northern Ireland and Renfrew, Scotland.
  • "Belfast Harbour Airport" was opened on 16 March 1938 by Mrs Neville Chamberlain, wife of the then British Prime Minister. The inaugural flight was to Glasgow, Scotland. Throughout the war the Harbour Airport, or RAF Belfast as it became known, was home to the development and deployment of many famous aircraft including the legendary Shorts Sunderland flying boat.
  • The runway was extended to its present 6000ft in 1952, requiring more than 500,000 tons of filling due to the nature of the reclaimed land.
  • » The airport has always been an important centre for military aviation research and innovation and on 6 April 1960 was the setting for the maiden flight by the world's first Vertical Take-off and Landing jet (The SC1), a forerunner to the Harrier 'JumpJet'
  • Scheduled passenger flights re-commenced on Monday 7 February 1983. The terminal buildings comprised of converted sheds and a wartime Nissen hut, and baggage handling was done by the airport's Fire Service.
  • In November 1995, Belfast City Airport played host to US President Bill Clinton.
  • The continual development of facilities since the re-opening in 1983 culminated in the construction of a completely new terminal which opened on 3 June 2001.
  • In 2003, ownership of the airport passed to Ferrovial. With its headquarters in Madrid, the Ferrovial Group has interests in the construction industry and airports around the world.
  • On May 22nd 2006 the airport was re-named George Best Belfast City Airport, to commemorate the life of the international footballing legend George Best, who was born and grew up close to the airport. 
  • On the 6th February 2007, GBBCA receives the private sector Gold Award of Excellence at the Northern Ireland Quality Awards.  In May, at the 02 Ability Awards, GBBCA is presented with the Environmental Accessibility and Customer Service Award.
  • In September 2008, GBBCA is sold for almost four times what former owners Ferrovial bought it for in 2003.  Fortis pays £132.5 million.