Belfast Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Belfast Airport

Belfast International Airport is a large transportation hub located in the United Kingdom, and it serves the city of Belfast and other towns in Northern Ireland. The airport is the second largest in terms of passenger traffic on the island of Ireland, falling just behind Dublin Airport, and is ranked as the thirteenth busiest in the United Kingdom. However, it’s cargo movements rate it as the sixth busiest in the UK. Belfast International was formerly known as the Aldergrove Airport, and it has been allocated the IATA code of BFS. The ICAO code is listed as EGAA. The destination is served by a significant number of prominent airline companies, and it has a very well equipped terminal building.

Belfast International is located at quite a distance from the city, 23km or 13.2 miles, especially when compared to the Belfast City Airport. However, this means that it has the ability to operate twenty-four hours a day, throughout the year, with no constraints in regard to noise pollution. It has no air space limitations either. Although at a distance from the city, it is well connected by major roads and motorways, of which the A57 is the main access road. Other roads of importance for airport access are the M2 from Belfast, the M1 from Dublin, the A6 from Londonderry/Derry and the A26 from Coleraine in the north and Moira to the south. Small areas very nearby include Aldergrove to the west, and Crumlin and Nutt’s Corner to the south, while the towns of Antrim, Templepatrick, Dunadry, Dundrod and Glenavy are in the near vicinity as well. On a larger scale, Belfast International can be described as to the west of Newtownabby, Carrickfergus, Belfast and Bangor, to the south of Coleraine and Ballymena, to the south-east of Londonderry and to the north of Newry and Craigavon. The airport is to the far north of Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland.

Passengers can access the terminals by private vehicle, bus or taxi, but there is no train station on the airport grounds. However, it is part of master plan to have a rail connection in future years, possibly sometime between 2015 and 2030. This will be achieved by re-establishing the former Lisburn-Antrim line, which passes close by to the terminal building. Belfast Airport expects around 7.5 million passengers by 2015, and 12 million passengers by 2030, while its cargo movements could reach as much as 146,000 tons by 2030. To accommodate the growth a few plans have been suggested. They include the extension of the check-in hall, domestic baggage reclaim area and the West Pier. A new South Pier could be built and a multi-storey car park with a high level link to the terminal is envisioned. In later years, plans for a new three storey central core linked to the various terminal areas may be built. However, the old terminal may also be completely replaced by a new building. Public transport options may also need to be improved in the future, and enhanced highway links between the airport and the M2 Motorway may need to be achieved.

Currently, the Airport Express 300 bus service is available between the airport and the Belfast Europa Buscentre, and the Ulsterbus 109A service runs to and from the Antrim Buscentre and the Lisburn railway station. There are also coach services to Londonderry/Derry. Taxis are available from the ‘International Airport Taxi Company’. For passengers arriving in private vehicles, the airport has three car parks. One for short-term parking, one main parking lot and a long-stay parking area.

The airport has a history which dates back to 1917, when it was used as a Royal Flying Corps training establishment for the First World War. Some commercial activity took place before the Second World War, with flights to Glasgow, the Isle of Man, Liverpool and Croydon. During the time of World War II, the four existing runways were replaced by two long, paved runways, in order to accommodate larger aircraft. Aldergrove officially become the site of the main civil aircraft activities of Belfast in October 1963, and a new terminal and apron with adequate passenger facilities were built. Regular flight services to London-Gatwick began in 1966, and Aer Lingus and BOAC started flights in 1968 to New York, via Shannon and Glasgow-Prestwick. When the company Northern Ireland Airports Limited was established in 1971, further improvements were made to the facilities, including the new International Pier and car parks. In 1983, the airport took it’s current name of Belfast International, and by 1987, passenger traffic had hit the two million mark.

Today, the airport consists of a large, single terminal building, and is a third hub for the airline company of Aer Lingus. It is the first hub for Aer Lingus outside of the Republic of Ireland. Aer Lingus operates the large Airbus A380 to London-Heathrow. The terminal is large enough to accommodate most aircraft, and it serves all destinations. It’s arrival and departure areas are all under one roof, but on separate levels, and there is one jetway on the international pier which allows for speedy boarding. Within the terminal, facilities include a business lounge, shops and duty-free stores, bars, cafés and restaurants, cash machines, currency exchange services, WiFi connections, baby-changing facilities, tourist information offices, car hire companies and general information desks. The airport is accessible to disabled passengers.

Airline companies present at the destination include Aer Lingus, Easyjet, Jet2.com, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways, and the busiest international routes from these companies are to Spain (Malaga), France (Paris-Charles de Gaulle), Portugal (Faro), Spain (Palma de Mallorca), United States (Newark) and to Spain (Barcelona). Some of the busiest domestic routes from Belfast include those to Liverpool, the London airports of Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow and Luton, Edinburgh, Glasgow International and Newcastle. 59% of the passengers fly on domestic flights, and 41% fly on international flights. In 2010, just over four million passengers passed through Belfast International, but in 2011, 4.1 million passengers were achieved. Perhaps the slight increase in passengers indicates busier future years, with traffic figures once again rising to over five million as they did in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Further details regarding Belfast International Airport information can be obtained from the information services that are reached at the following contact number: +44 (0) 28 9448 4848.

The Air Transport Association (IATA) code for Belfast Airport is BFS. It is otherwise known as is Aldergrove International Airport. We have provided the GPS location which are as follows 54.59083, -5.91667 to help either your arrival directions or perhaps give you directions from the airport to your chosen destination.

You can see below selection of flight time’s destinations and which Airline flies from Belfast.

Destination Weekly Flights Distance
Liverpool (LPL) 33 244 Km (152 Miles)
London Stansted (STN) 29 508 Km (316 Miles)
Glasgow (GLA) 22 171 Km (106 Miles)
London Gatwick (LGW) 21 542 Km (337 Miles)
London Heathrow (LHR) 20 504 Km (313 Miles)
Luton (LTN) 19 477 Km (297 Miles)
Edinburgh (EDI) 18 222 Km (138 Miles)
Newcastle (NCL) 17 275 Km (171 Miles)
Bristol (BRS) 16 416 Km (258 Miles)
Manchester (MAN) 14 276 Km (171 Miles)

easyJet, Aer Lingus and British Airways are the three busiest Airlines that fly out of the airport; together they cover around 24 routes out of the total of 25. The busiest which is easyJet covers a total of 220 flights per week and goes to 17 destinations. easyJet covers 69 % of all outbound flights out of Belfast. easyJet airline offers flights to Liverpool John Lennon, Stansted, Glasgow International, London Gatwick, London Luton and Edinburgh among others.

You can see below a selection of nonstop flights covered from Belfast with approximate times

Airliner Destination Flight Time (Est)
easyJet Liverpool (LPL) 43 minutes
easyJet London Stansted (STN) 1 hour 25 minutes
easyJet Glasgow (GLA) 30 minutes
easyJet London Gatwick (LGW) 1 hour 27 minutes
easyJet Luton (LTN) 1 hour 22 minutes
easyJet Edinburgh (EDI) 39 minutes

Many popular hire car companies are located at the airport and are situated either in the Arrivals lounge or very close by. Please bring your valid driving licence and credit card if your require a hire car on your trip. The benefit of getting a FREE Belfast car hire quote is that you can compare prices of most of the major car companies before you travel.