Just weeks after Belfast International Airport returned to the top ten of UK airports, the go-ahead has been given for a new £2.5 million retail and fuel forecourt adjacent to the airport.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council unanimously approved the project which will create thirty-five new jobs and support up to thirty jobs during construction.
The airport is enjoying its busiest ever summer and expects to exceed five million passengers this year with further growth anticipated in 2017.
The new Airport Road facility is scheduled to open in the spring of next year.
The developer, Dunadry-based Moorefield Contracts Ltd, will construct a 10,500 sq ft retail outlet which will encompass a High Street food retailer, sandwich bar, coffee kiosk, hot food drive thru, children’s play area and forecourt with 16 fuelling bays.
Canice Mallaghan from Moorefield Contracts has welcomed the decision by the Council to grant planning approval.
Mr Mallaghan said: “We are delighted with the unanimous decision by the Council in support of our application. Our £2.5 million project mirrors the confidence that’s evident at the airport which is enjoying unprecedented passenger growth. It’s also a clear vote of confidence in South Antrim and, clearly, the Council has bought into our vision.
“The thirty-five permanent jobs will inject more than half a million pounds in wages annually into the local economy.
“We are engaged in positive discussions with a number of potential retail operators and expect to successfully conclude our negotiations within a matter of weeks.”
“Belfast International Airport Property Manager, Katrina Gilchrist, has also welcomed the Council decision.
Ms Gilchrist said: “This private investment will be a big success. We’re now back in the top ten of UK airports in terms of passenger numbers and with more than 4,000 pass holders working on the site, this welcome development couldn’t be better timed.
“Our success leads to more jobs and increased business opportunities. These are exciting times at the airport. We have more new routes about to come on stream this autumn and they will generate hundreds of thousands more passengers and friends and family to the airport.
“Moorefield Contracts has identified the business opportunity and I’m certain others will follow their example as we continue to achieve further growth and expansion.”