As the city’s troubled past fades in the memory of the tourist, Belfast is fast becoming a popular spot, either for a city break or as the gateway for a longer holiday in the area.
Although the airport is only 3 km east of Belfast, passengers wishing to get from the airport to the city centre currently have to put up with transport access, which was recently described as “an embarrassment” compared to airports in other European cities.
Trains run from the airport to Belfast Central and Victoria St stations but passengers must first catch a shuttle bus from the terminal building to Sydenham station. Easyjet thought they had a good solution when they suggested that the disused Knockmore railway line, a mile from the airport, should be redeveloped, with a spokesman for the airline calling it a "great asset".
A spokesman for the airport said that the redevelopment would cost too much public money and Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy, said that the airport would have to attract far more passengers for the £35 million scheme to be viable.
Thomas Burns from the SDLP, however, backs the Easyjet proposal and calls the position “ludicrous”. He is keen for the line to be redeveloped in order to reduce pollution by getting drivers off the already congested roads such as Templepatrick, as well as generating income for Translink.
Translink say that the line in question is still used for training purposes and for emergencies and that it could very well be extended to the airport at some point in the future, subject to a successful business plan.