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      Friday 22 May 2009

      Not content with an award winning terminal, management at George Best Belfast City Airport have just overseen the first stage in £6 million upgrade of terminal facilities as they strive to stay ahead of the curve in catering for future passenger growth...
      Work on the privately funded project has already begun with the new external re-configuration of the drop off and collection area. More eagle eyed visitors will have noticed the absence of the escalator in the main terminal concourse signaling the commencement of the internal works.

      The new development will include the relocation of the departure lounge to the first floor, whilst the retail, food and beverage offering airside will increase by a massive 60 per cent.

      As Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive of George Best Belfast City Airport explained the works, in part, are in response to changing passenger behaviour.

      “In the past passengers waited to the last minute before going through security to board their flights. However over recent years we seen that reverse, with travellers spending more time airside before boarding their flight. Consequently we will shortly be able to offer greater choice airside. ”
      “The passenger is central to all our decision making. We want their experience of Belfast City to be hassle free and memorable for all the right reasons.

      The new airside offering will include a Bushmills bar and a St George’s market themed restaurant as the airport taps into the popularity of two of Northern Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions.
      Security search facilities will also be enhanced.

      “At a couple of peak times during the week we’ve noticed longer than average queues developing and we’re acting quickly to resolve this.

      “The security search facilities will also be expanded to reduce waiting times and to provide a more comfortable and efficient transition for our passengers to the departure lounge,” said Brian Ambrose.
      The development works continue following a highly successful front of house re-configuration.

      “We are delighted that the £750,000 investment to our front of house has proved so successful with our passengers. Three times as many passengers per week are now availing of the airport’s new enhanced drop off and pick up facilities than prior to the enhancement.”

      Belfast City Airport’s owners, ABN AMRO Global Infrastructure Fund, has committed to continuing the airport’s tradition of an unrelenting quest for a great airport experience, and as well as physical upgrades, the City is embarking upon an extensive project to improve the customer service experience at the airport.

      The terminal upgrade is due for completion in November 2009 and the airport will be taking the necessary steps to ensure the works do not affect the day to day operations of the airport.

      “When our terminal was built in 2001, it was future proofedto ensure that any expansion of facilities could be accommodated within the current building,” continued Brian Ambrose.

      “These are exciting times for Northern Ireland which is rapidly becoming a tourist hotspot. We see Belfast City as instrumental in this growth by providing visitors with a direct service to the heart of the city whilst providing an excellent service to our growing customer base.”