The derelict land, which housed the old terminal building, has a planning restriction attached which limits the number of seats the airport can sell from the airport to 2 million per year.
A public consultation is currently under way as the airport seeks the removal of the seats for sale limit to be replaced with a noise control cap which will protect local residents by controlling the size and number of aircraft – a first within Northern Ireland.
Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at George Best Belfast City Airport said:
“Currently the airport can only offer for sale 2 million seats from the airport in any 12 month period.
“Legally we can operate 48,000 flights per year (in 2011, the airport facilitated 42,000 flights) but can’t fly this number due an out-dated restriction which relates to a terminal building vacated in 2001 and long since demolished.
“Almost 50% of our 2.3 million passengers last year were visitors. If the seats for sale limit was removed 350 jobs could be created onsite at the airport and indirectly in the tourism industry delivering £22.4 million of economic growth for the region.*
Katy Best continued:
“The airport is obviously sensitive to the environment in which we operate and has a good relationship with the local community.
“We have worked hard to deliver on noise with only 41 complaints during 2011.
“Now following a significant investment we are now volunteering a noise control cap to protect them further.
“We want to assure the local community that any future development at the airport can be maintained within the planning agreement cap of 48,000 flights.
“The noise contour cap will limit the size and number of aircraft and will be enforceable by the Department of Environment.
“We are not seeking a change to our operating hours and the majority of flights will continue to arrive and depart over Belfast Lough.”
The public consultation into the modification to change the planning agreement ends on 30 June. Following an Examination in Public later this year the Environment Minister will then make a decision before the end of 2012.
WASTELAND AT CITY AIRPORT IS BLOCKING 350 JOBS: Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at George Best Belfast City Airport standing in the wasteland within the airport grounds which is standing in the way of up to 350 jobs.