Belfast International Airport plans to make 2013 a year to remember as it celebrates its 50thanniversary. To mark the occasion, the airport has put together a spectacular schedule of events including, among other things, charity fund-raising activities and a photographic exhibition looking back over five decades, with the full programme of activity to be released over the course of the year.
Managing Director John Doran said: “2013 represents a milestone for the facility that started life as a civil airport in October 1963. On that occasion, HRH Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother officially opened the new terminal on the extensive site at Aldergrove.
“Throughout its 50-year history, Aldergrove, now Belfast International Airport, has played a central role in the economic and social life of Northern Ireland. We directly account for over 4,000 jobs and 250 businesses and contribute in the region of £400 million each year to the local economy.
“From quite humble beginnings, we now operate to around 80 domestic and international destinations with over 200 flights a day on average.
“Our growth has been steady and continuous, and 2013 will be no different when we plan to add new services to our departure screens. We work continuously with our current airlines and potential new operators to extend our reach and broaden the range of destinations for the benefit and convenience of local consumers and visitors alike.
“More than that, 2013 will be an occasion to celebrate a special birthday. Our events in 2013 will be as community-focused as possible, looking to the future, but also acknowledging our eventful past.
“We have had to deal with every conceivable challenge, from recession and unpredictable and often appalling weather to business interruptions necessitated by volcanic ash, but throughout it all, our staff have been magnificent.
“Likewise airports are a place of immense fascination for children and we have put together a number of events especially for them. They represent the future and their involvement will be a big part of 2013.
“Our celebration year will cover every facet of what we do. It will involve and engage, be fun-filled and exciting and contribute positively to our wider community.
“Belfast International in 2013 is an utterly different place from when we opened for business in 1963, but our role is ever more central to the social and economic aspirations of Northern Ireland. One thing remains constant, and that is our commitment to continue to serve communities right across the country, to facilitate business and social mobility and to enrich the travelling experience of our customers.”