Belfast International Airport

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Belfast International Airport
Missing image
Go Boeing 737 at Aldergrove in 2001. Operating on runway 25/07 with terminal facilites in background. Credit Ulster Aviation Society

Quick Info
Type of Airport Commercial
Run by Belfast International Airport Ltd.
Opened 1921
City Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Coordinates Template:Coor dms
Direction Length Surface
Meters Feet
07/25 2780 9121 Asphalt
17/35 1951 6400 Asphalt
Number of Passengers 3,700,000
Comments on this test infobox

Belfast International Airport is a United Kingdom airport located some 24 km (15 miles) west of Belfast in Northern Ireland. It is also known as Aldergrove, after the village of that name lying immediately to the west of the airport. The airport's IATA Code is BFS. Belfast International shares its runways with the Royal Air Force base RAF Aldergrove, which otherwise has its own facilites.


  • November 1917: Aldergrove selected to be the Royal Flying Corps training establishment during the First World War. With the end of the war, Aldergrove remained open for Royal Air Force aircraft and for the fledgling civil traffic to and from Northern Ireland.
  • June 1921: King George V and Queen Mary visited Northern Ireland. Aircraft landed at Aldergrove with cameramen and reporters and returned to London with newsreel films and photographs of the event.
  • May 1925: Northern Ireland's own Special Reserve unit No 502 (Ulster) Squadron RAF was formed at Aldergrove.
  • 31 May 1933: Northern Ireland's first ever regular, sustained civil air service started. The route was Glasgow to Aldergrove and the flight was operated by Midland and Scottish Air Ferries.
  • 1933-1934: Aldergrove became Northern Ireland's civil airport.
  • 20 August 1934: Northern Ireland's first London service began to Nutts Corner, operated by Railway Air Services. The flight left from Croydon and went via Birmingham and Manchester to Belfast.
  • 1939-45: During the second World War, Aldergrove remained an RAF base, particularly for the Coastal Command.
  • 1946-63: Nutts Corner becomes the main civil airport of Northern Ireland.
  • 26 Sept 1963: The decision was taken to move civil flights back to Aldergrove because of less variable weather conditions than those at Nutts Corner. In recent years aircraft had been diverted from Nutts Corner to Aldergrove because of adverse weather conditions. The first passenger flight to land that day was a BEA Vickers Viscount from Manchester.
  • 28 October 1963: HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother reopened Aldergrove as a civil airport and inaugurated the present terminal building
  • 4 January 1966: The start of the first regular jet service, by a British United BAC 1-11 to Gatwick
  • 1969: Annual passenger numbers hit the 1 million mark
  • 11 September 2001: Transatlantic aircraft including a BA 747 are diverted to Aldergrove following the closure of United States airspace.
  • 2005: Continental Airlines began direct flights from Aldergrove to Newark International Airport, New York. This is the first direct flight from Northern Ireland to the United States, passengers previously flying to Heathrow or Dublin Airport.

Key facts

  • Serving over 3.7 million passengers a year, Belfast International Airport is the principal gateway to north of Ireland.
  • It is the closest all-weather airport in Europe to the USA, and is ideally located for the rapid turnaround and repositioning of the transatlantic flights.
  • The airport operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is not subject to noise abatement procedures, significant environmental constraints or airspace limitations.
  • Most techically advanced airport in Ireland - Two long runways with ILS Cat 111b equipment, offer wide-body capacity.
  • Fifth largest regional air cargo centre in the UK.
  • Full range of warehouse and distribution centre.
  • Extensive ancillary services on site including executive air charter, air taxi, air ambulance, helicopter training and hire.

Airlines and destinations

The following scheduled airlines use Belfast International Airport (at January 2005):

  • bmibaby to Birmingham, Cardiff, Durham Tees Valley (Teeside), Manchester and Nottingham (East Midlands))
  • Eastern Airways to Aberdeen
  • easyJet to Alicante, Amsterdam, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, Malaga, Newcastle, Nice, Paris (Charles de Gaulle) (services to Berlin (Schoenefeld), Geneva, Inverness, Palma and Rome (Ciampino) due to start in July 2005)
  • to Barcelona, Leeds/Bradford and Prague (services to Cork and Bournemouth due to start in March 2005)
  • Continental Airlines to New York (Newark)

The following scheduled airlines are due to commence services in 2005:

  • EUjet to Kent International (Manston) (from April 2005)

Template:UKAirportsde:Belfast International Airport


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