Residents alarmed as City becomes international airport

Local residents have expressed their alarm at the fact that seven new international routes are to operate from George Best Belfast City Airport.

Dr Liz Fawcett, the Chair of the Belfast City Airport Watch Steering Group, says residents are angry that politicians are allowing the City Airport to be turned into an international airport.

It’s completely inappropriate for an airport on the doorstep of major residential areas to be permitted to become an international airport when we already have an international airport on a virtual greenfield site just up the road,” she said.

This move has been made in the absence of any robust and properly enforced noise controls.

The Northern Ireland Executive – and in particular the Environment Minister – have singularly failed to tackle the issue of noise which affects tens of thousands of local residents.

Dr Fawcett also pointed out that five of the new routes are to holiday destinations which will simply attract more local people to take weekend breaks and holidays abroad.

It’s in the interests of our local economy to encourage people to take their holidays and weekend breaks in Northern Ireland, and new routes to holiday destinations won’t do that,” she commented.

Belfast City Airport Watch estimates that more than 40,000 residents in east and south Belfast, and north Down are affected by aircraft noise linked to the City Airport.

Two years ago, Belfast City Airport Watch carried out its own survey of residents in areas overflown by planes from the City Airport.

The shock findings from this survey demonstrated the extent to which aircraft noise is a very real problem for many residents:

  • More than three-quarters (78%) of the 412 individuals surveyed said that aircraft noise affected their sleep
  • Three-quarters (75%) of respondents said they often had to stop talking when a plane flew over because they couldn’t be heard
  • Of the 157 respondents with children, nearly half (46%) said their children weren’t getting enough sleep because of aircraft noise.
  • More than a third (34%) of those with children said their children found aircraft noise frightening.


  1. Peter Daivs says:

    I really don’t know who is genuinely helping the residents. I’m one of those people from east Belfast that have to stop talking on the phone when certain planes fly overhead. I’m not opposed to an airport as a ‘city’ airport, but NOT a ‘want to be’, second international one. I hear comments about new jobs, but surely this will impact jobs and opportunities at the actual international airport in Antrim.

    This getting away to the sunshine, and more accessible city breaks just sounds like a sales ploy, so why can’t the airlines that what to fly international flights not simply go to the international airport? Is there some major cost different or issue with the international airport?

    I fully support the BCAW as they make sense and provide factual information.

    I would like to know how one can do more, other display quieter life mini poster?
    I also really hope someone or party steps up to put forward our concerns before this city airport just goes ahead and contnues to do what it wants without any restriction.


    • BCAW says:

      Thanks for your comment Peter. You can further support BCAW by signing up as a supporter using the form on our website here (What Can I Do > Associate Membership Form). It’s totally free and more signed-up support will help make our case stronger.

      Also you can write to your politicians about your issues with aircraft noise, and be sure to mention it to them when they’re canvassing in your area.

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