Owners of the airport have appealed to Northern Ireland’s environment minister, Edwin Poots, to lift the restrictions which were imposed due the site’s small terminal building.

The move follows on from the airport asking to expand earlier this year.

An agreement called ‘seats for sale’ limited all operators to under 2M flights a year.

However, according to its owners, this is no longer needed as the site was expanded in 2008.

Mr Poots, who says he favours expansion, has green-lighted a consultation between Belfast City Council, North Down Borough Council and the Belfast City Airport Forum to hear views.

The airport’s chief executive, Brian Ambrose, said he delighted. He said: “The seats for sale restriction is based on the physical capacity of the old terminal building.

“As this building has now been demolished and we operate from a new modern terminal building, we are pleased that the department now recognise it has no relevance to the current operation.”

Mr Poots said: “Having given the matter careful consideration I am inclined to lift the restriction.

“That being the case I have instructed my officials to commence a consultation process.

“I would wish to stress at this point that I have not made a final decision and that l will carefully consider the consultation responses before I do so.”

Luke Walsh

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