Northern Ireland

Belfast International Airport threatens parking legal action

International Airport
Image caption Belfast International Airport is threatening court action Antrim and Newtownabbey Council

Belfast International Airport is threatening court action against a council in its long-running dispute over unlawful car parking competition.

It comes after Antrim and Newtownabbey Council withdrew a notice that would have compelled an operator to shut down.

The airport has given the council days to explain its stance, or it will challenge it through a judicial review.

Muckamore-based Karl Airport Parking has been in business for years.

However, it has never had planning consent for its 1,000 spaces.

After a complaint from the airport last summer, Karl was served a so-called stop notice by the council.

However, the airport since discovered it was withdrawn and the council has not said why.

The airport argues several unlawful car-park operators near Aldergrove are costing it millions in lost revenue and putting jobs there at risk.

Image caption Muckamore-based Karl Airport Parking has been in business for years, despite not having planning consent for its 1,000 spaces.

Websites show there can be almost £10 difference between one week's car parking at Karl and the airport's own facilities.

In a statement to the BBC, the council did not explain why the stop notice was withdrawn.

But it pointed out other enforcement action is being pursued "to ensure any breaches of planning control are resolved".

A spokesman for Karl told the BBC it is challenging the action and remains open in the meantime.

He added the council withdrew the stop notice because the business had demonstrated its land had been used for parking for more than five years.

In a statement, Belfast International said: "We will do all we can to ensure planning decisions are not overturned without notice or explanation."