UUP Infrastructure spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA, has questioned why support has not been provided to Belfast International Airport after a response to a Written Question from him revealed that Belfast City Airport and City of Derry Airport have both received emergency funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the response from the Infrastructure Minister, Roy Beggs MLA said:
“It is welcome that the Minster is meeting with Belfast International Airport but questions remain to be answered as to why the Minster was able to provide support to City of Derry Airport and to Belfast City Airport but not, as of yet, to support the principle NI Airport which provides emergency landing space, and whose 24hr operation is important for emergency movement of patients and of organs for transplantation.”
Notes: The Written Question and answer from the Minister are below:
AQW 10277/17-22 DATE FOR ANSWER: THURSDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2020 ROY BEGGS MLA (EAST ANTRIM)
To ask the Minister for Infrastructure what financial assistance is being proposed for Belfast International Airport
My Department’s statutory remit in relation to airports is quite limited, but the Airports (NI) Order 1994 does allow it, subject to the necessary funding being made available, to consider grants or loans to airport operators to defray capital expenditure incurred by them.
However, due to the exceptional circumstances that emerged from the COVID 19 pandemic, the Department for Infrastructure was asked to facilitate the distribution of emergency funding on behalf of the NI Executive to George Best Belfast City Airport and the City of Derry Airport.
I am committed to working with both my Executive colleagues in the Department for the Economy and the Department for Finance to identify and put in place any appropriate support for Belfast International Airport. I have accepted an invitation to meet with Belfast International Airport representatives, along with my ministerial colleagues in the Department of Finance and the Department for the Economy, given the different statutory responsibilities we each hold in respect of airports and connectivity.