Belfast International Airport is to close for several hours on days when commercial flights are not running through the rest of November.
Closures are proposed for seven dates, which will see the premises shut for up to eight and a half hours, except on two dates where charter flights will be facilitated. The move will not affect passenger flights which will operate as per schedule.
The airport’s managing director Graham Keddie “tough decisions” have had to be made in recent months as the impact of Covid-19 has devastated the aviation sector. He said keeping the airport open 24/7 during the first lockdown when all commercial flights were grounded cost £65,000 per day.
“This was to keep Northern Ireland connected and to ensure that we remained open for all medical emergency flights, all military and PSNI traffic, the Royal Mail and all cargo flights, including the delivery of online purchases,” he said. “The recent travel restrictions and subsequent announcements from easyJet and Ryanair, among others, to understandably reduce their routes means we need to make more difficult decisions.
"As a result we will be closing the airport for a few hours on certain days throughout November when there are no commercial flights meaning passengers will not be impacted. “We did not make this decision lightly and we are in discussions with the NI Executive for support to ensure we that we will be in a position to welcome these flights back as soon as it is possible.”
Proposed closure times in November are as follows:
Saturday 14 November- 11.15am – 6.30pm (will reopen 1pm-2.30pm to facilitate charter flight)
Tuesday 17 November- 10am – 6.30pm
Wednesday 18 November- 10am – 6.30pm
Saturday 21 November- 10am – 6.30pm (will reopen to facilitate charter time TBC)
Tuesday 24 November- 10am – 6.30pm
Wednesday 25 November-10am – 6.30pm
Saturday 28 November- 10am – 6.30pm