Northern Ireland

George Best Belfast City Airport seats limit inquiry date set

A date has been fixed for a public inquiry into a controversial proposal by George Best Belfast City Airport to change one of the rules of its planning permission.

It has been trying to scrap a "seats for sale" restriction since 2004, one that the airport claims limits its growth.

The rule limits the airport to selling two million departing seats a year.

The inquiry will be held in March 2015.

It was first ordered by then Environment Minister Alex Attwood in 2011 after a series of judicial reviews.

A final decision on the issue will rest with his successor Mark H Durkan, who will take the inquiry evidence into consideration.

The airport's proposal has the backing of Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, as well as Belfast and North Down councils.

But it faces objections from local people and residents groups.

They fear a busier airport will impact upon their quality of life.

A meeting will be held in November to finalise the arrangements of the inquiry, which will take place on 23 March.

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