MPs question Northern Ireland ministers on an air transport strategy

04 July 2012

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will hear from Arlene Foster MLA and Danny Kennedy MLA in its sixth evidence session of its inquiry into an air transport strategy for Northern Ireland on Wednesday 4 July.


At 2.30pm, Wednesday 4 July, Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster

  • Arlene Foster MLA, Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
  • David Thomson, Head of Policy Group, Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
  • Danny Kennedy MLA, Minister for Regional Development, Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Dr Andrew Grieve, Head of Air and Sea Ports, Department for Regional Development

The Committee is inquiring into:

  • the implications of current air links for Northern Ireland, specifically the  economy;
  • regional and international connectivity;
  • the  lack of public transport links to, and between, Belfast International, Belfast City and City of Derry airports;
  • the implications for Northern Ireland of the Civil Aviation Bill;
  • the implications of the proposed takeover of BMI by IAG; and
    tax policy.

Information released by the NI Chamber of Commerce and BAA on 14 February 2012 stated that:

  • One in ten jobs in Northern Ireland depend on foreign investment, and half of those companies can only reach their home market through a hub airport;
  • Aviation supports £1bn of exports from Northern Ireland;
  • Foreign tourists spend £195m a year in Northern Ireland and account for 360,000 visits – 150,000 of whom arrive by air; and
  • Northern Ireland benefits directly from having a global hub in Britain, with Heathrow directly supporting 1,000 tourism jobs and 900 airport jobs in Northern Ireland.

The Committee has previously heard oral evidence from representatives of Belfast International Airport, George Best Belfast City Airport, City of Derry Airport, CBI Northern Ireland, ABTA, Unite, the Consumer Council for NI, BALPA, the Department for Transport and the UK Border Agency.

Image: iStockphoto

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