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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 19:05 GMT
Concern at night flights plan
BMI is moving all its Heathrow services to the city
Proposals to introduce late night flights into Belfast City Airport have been criticised by Northern Ireland's former enterprise minister.

People living in the area have said they are concerned over an increase in flights to and from the airport.

It follows a decision by BMI to move all its Heathrow services to Belfast City Airport from the beginning of next month.

Can you imagine living under the flight path of those Airbuses coming over your chimney pots

Sir Reg Empey
UUP MLA
The airline also wants to introduce late night flights to accommodate its last service from London and is waiting for permission to be granted for the airport to stay open late.

East Belfast assembly member Sir Reg Empey, who is opposing the proposals, said such a move would damage the quality of the lives of the area's residents.

"Flights are supposed to stop at 9.30 in the evening and this proposal would extend that.

"Can you imagine living under the flight path of those Airbuses coming over your chimney pots at 11 at night with young children in the house," said Sir Reg.

BMI said a changed marketplace for airlines was the reason behind the decision, adding that it would improve services.

The airline moved most of its services from Belfast International Airport to the city airport in 2001 following a 21m upgrade to its terminal building.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's business editor James Kerr:
"Management believe that freeing up planning restrictions at the airport is central to its future commercial success"
See also:

28 Aug 02 | N Ireland
02 Aug 01 | N Ireland
21 Dec 99 | N Ireland
04 Jun 01 | N Ireland
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