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McLaughlin calls for public inquiry into Belfast City extension

4 December, 2008

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) has called for a public inquiry into the proposed runway extension at Belfast City Airport.

Mitchel McLaughlin said:

"I support the call by residents in the vicinity of the Belfast City Airport in their demands for a public inquiry into expansion proposals at the Airport.

"While the residents' demands are based mainly on social and environmental issues I believe that there are also compelling economic and strategic reasons why there should be a public inquiry.

"I do not believe that Belfast City is suitably positioned to cater for the type of route expansion that is required to attract additional air passengers to the region. It is landlocked and in close proximity to residential areas. Although there should be provision for it to compete as a regional Airport - catering for short haul flights - it does not demonstrate the capacity to become an international Airport.

"The public inquiry should include an economic impact assessment of benefits or disadvantages that such proposals would have on the longterm strategic plans for increasing the numbers of international air passengers coming to the Region. I believe that development of Belfast City would be to the detriment of the International Airport and could result not only in a net loss in passenger numbers but the loss of internationally recognisable brand name airlines to the region."

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