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      Tuesday 03 Dec 2013

      1983...The year that Michael Jackson’s video for ‘Thriller’ was first aired, the year that saw the first release of Microsoft Word and the year James Dyson produced his first prototype vacuum cleaner.

      Locally, 1983 was the year in which the first commercial flights landed and took off from Belfast Harbour Airport, or as we now know it, George Best Belfast City Airport.
      This year the airport - which was revealed as the airport of choice in a 2012 Lucid Talk* poll - is also celebrating its 30 year partnership with leading regional airline Flybe which began operating its regional routes from the city in 1983.

      Chief Executive of Belfast City Airport, Brian Ambrose, said: "Some of our first passengers may remember having to pass through the old Nissen Hut, which acted as a purpose built security facility, before entering the terminal building.

      "Thanks to continued private investment from our shareholders we now have a modern terminal with state of the art facilities, all under the one roof these days I might add, to enhance the experience of every passenger that comes through our doors.

      "Flybe, which was then known as Jersey European and is now our largest and longest serving airline, was one of the first airlines to recognise the huge potential of our ideal location, just minutes from Belfast City Centre.

      "Since those early days we now have an extensive route network that is continually developing to best serve the needs of our passengers, both business and leisure, through our airline partners Aer Lingus, British Airways, CityWing and of course Flybe.

      "I am delighted that our growth in the last 30 years has allowed us to become a major employer in Belfast and to develop a strong relationship with our local community, having donated over £100,000 to local community groups and projects.

      "Each year we handle around 2.5 million passengers and now as the only direct link between Northern Ireland and Heathrow we expect this year to be one of the busiest yet.

      "On behalf of all at Belfast City Airport, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our airline partners and passengers that have been part of our incredible journey over the last 30 years and I look forward to next 30!"

      Andrea Hayes, Regional Commercial Manager Flybe, said: "Flybe was one of the first airlines to fly out of the City Airport and has been providing vital business and leisure links between Belfast and the rest of the UK for 30 years. During that time Flybe’s business has increased in Northern Ireland despite the continued tough economic challenges faced by the aviation industry.

      “Birmingham is one of our longest standing destinations, now moving into its 28th year of daily flights. Southampton, with a decade of service, has become a popular gateway to the South of England whilst, since 2004, flights to Exeter have opened up the South West. 

      “Over the last four years passengers from Northern Ireland have also benefited from connections to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland through Edinburgh and Glasgow with Flybe’s franchise partner, Loganair; and there is a wealth of onward connections available through Manchester Airport’s growing status as Flybe’s regional hub.

      On behalf of Flybe we look forward to continuing to serve Northern Ireland passengers for the next thirty years.”

      For more information about Belfast City Airport please visit or follow the airport on Facebook and Twitter (@BelfastCity_Air)

      *The poll revealed that 63.2% of people in Northern Ireland prefer to fly from George Best Belfast City Airport.

      Belfast City Airport in the 80s


      In the 90s