George Best Belfast City Airport has completed the first phase of a ?6m ($10m) terminal enhancement programme which includes a retail space increase of 60% and an Alpha store which has been relocated to a
new temporary location before it is reopened as a fully re-styled World Duty Free store next March. At the same time, the new post-security first floor lounge is capable of handling 12,000 passengers a day.
Belfast City Airport spokesman Steve Smith told TREND this morning that the retail and F&B offer is now 'light years ahead of what was there before', with the Alpha store complimented by a WHSmith outlet and a totally refurbished Bushmills Bar, plus a Harvest Market restaurant and a Lavazza Coffee outlet.
In additiion, Belfast City's Smith said that the airport could also be on the brink of a major expansion breakthrough if it is successful in its application for a new runway extension, since this could open it up to new European routes. A decision on this is expected before Christmas.
Smith said: ‘We have seen rapid growth in passenger numbers because of our location which is just one kilometre from Belfast, as opposed to Belfast International Airport which is miles away.
‘This year we think we are going to see a 2% growth in passengers to 2.5m and right now just before Christmas ? one of the busiest months of the year ? we are at 2.3m.’
Smith said that the airport has also asked for a 2m-ceiling cap on the number of seats it can sell to be lifted, having met the requirements of an earlier application by installing secondary radar and noise reduction systems.
He said this is all important, as easyJet is looking at bringing some of its operations to Belfast from Luton and it is able to utilize the airport's existing runway facilities with its aircraft types.