Northern Ireland

Belfast International Airport 'fourth from bottom in UK'

Belfast International Airport
Image caption Belfast International Airport handles about 4.3m passengers a year

Belfast International Airport (BIA) is the fourth worst large airport in the UK, a Which? report suggests.

The customer survey rated the best and worst airports. Topping the list in the large airport category was Newcastle - at the bottom was London Luton.

But BIA was near the bottom with an average three star rating and a customer satisfaction score of 48%.

Defending its position, a spokesperson said this was "interesting" but could only be taken as a guide.

"It is difficult to make like for like comparisons. In particular, the airports in the larger category vary widely in terms of passenger volumes, airline mix and the development history of their terminals."

Customers awarded Belfast International an average three stars out of a possible five for speed of check-in, airport security and passport control.

However, the airport scored just two stars for the quality of its shops and its family friendliness.

Travel writer Geoff Hill said: "The good things about the airport include that the interior is much better than it used to be. The bad things are that they charge cars for picking up passengers and there are never enough staff at peak times on security, the queues can be huge."

Airport sale

In its statement, Belfast International Airport pointed out that the airports in the larger category vary widely in terms of passenger volumes, airline mix and the development history of their terminals.

"It is good to note that we have scored well in areas where we have been able to make significant investment over the past few years, such as shops, catering outlets and the security search area," the statement said.

"However, we can never be complacent, and whilst Belfast International is celebrating 50 years this year on its current site, as Northern Ireland's main airport we recognise we need to continuously address consumer demand. We look forward to working with our new owners to further develop this strategically important asset, not only by improving passenger facilities but by delivering important new routes to key business and tourism gateways."

In July, it was announced that the airport was being sold to US-based firm, ADC & HAS Airports Worldwide.

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