Airports braced for festive rush

Published Thursday, 19 December 2013
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Airports across Northern Ireland and beyond are bracing themselves for a festive influx of passengers either heading home for Christmas or jetting off on a winter holiday.

Belfast International Airport is expecting over 150,000 passengers through its doors over the coming days - plus thousands more people who will be gathering to welcome their loved ones home.

Monday is expected to be the single busiest day with over 12,000 people using the airport.

A spokeswoman told UTV that domestic flights are packed out with people returning home to Northern Ireland for Christmas, while New York is the most popular international destination.

According to the airline easyJet, Belfast is the second most popular destination for their passengers from across the UK - only losing out on the top spot to Geneva, the second city of popular skiing destination Switzerland.

Belfast International is definitely getting into the spirit of the holidays.

"Carol singers will be on hand in the arrivals area to welcome passengers home and add that festive touch," managing director John Doran said.

"It won't just be the passenger aircraft working hard, our cargo business will also be in full swing, making sure that all those presents are delivered in time for Christmas.

"While the airport has no scheduled flights on Christmas Day, we still remain open should there be a requirement for diversions or medical emergencies."

He added: "So as you can see, there is no time to rest as just after Christmas the ski season kicks in and we will be expecting tens of thousands of passengers to be heading off to the slopes, jetting off for some winter sun or heading back home after the festivities."

Our staff will be working extremely hard throughout the holiday period to keep Northern Ireland flying.

John Doran, Belfast Intl

George Best Belfast City airport is prepared to transport more than 100,000 passengers over the Christmas and New Year period, in what has been one of the busiest years in its history.


Passenger numbers for the 12 months to the end of October past were over 2.5 million - up 14.1% on the previous 12 months, according to figures from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Chief executive Brian Ambrose said: "Christmas is certainly the busiest time of the year and the atmosphere in the terminal is always fantastic, with choirs from our adopted schools performing carols and extra staff on board to ensure the smoothest of journeys for all our passengers.

"As Northern Ireland's sole link with London Heathrow, this route has been particularly strong and that will no doubt continue throughout the festive period, with passengers from across the world using the London hub to arrive home for Christmas.

"The domestic routes operated by Flybe have performed well throughout the year and will also be extremely busy getting our passengers where they need to be for the holidays."

Meanwhile, Dublin Airport is expecting to deal with 660,000 passengers over the Christmas season - 4% more than during the same period last year.

© UTV News
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5 Comments
stevie in belfast wrote (125 days ago):
for goodness sake lorna thats just the mindset these dissident scumbags want us to have, rise above it enjoy this great wee country and have a great xmas
Jim bob in Belfast wrote (125 days ago):
Easyjet were well braced for it too, prices to get home near Christmas are a fraud.
stephen kane in belfast wrote (125 days ago):
how does an article about busy airports over christmas recieve a comment referring to sinn fein and the hass talks,i cant figure it out,its people like lorna who cant let this country move on,merry christmas!
Hilary in Derry wrote (125 days ago):
@lorna, it's what you make it dear! The flag protesters and bombers won't put me of having a great Christmas at home ! As for politics one side is as bad as the other!!! But do I care? No!!!!! So happy Christmas everyone and enjoy your time with your loved ones! Xxx
LORNA in limavady wrote (125 days ago):
It will take more than carol singers to lift the spirits of those coming home.to this God forsaken place. News that greets them. firebomber sets himself alight.help. back to the future.We have come home in the 1970s.Naass talks still continue about past. flags and parades.Nobody will give an inch.He says there must be give and take. Yes but Sinn Fein think that means. others give we take.Those willing to do" give and take" are not voted into the assembly.
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