Aborted flight at Belfast Airport

Passengers and crew were given a scare last week as an Easyjet plane taking off from Belfast Airport was forced to abort, due to concerns regarding the weight in the hold.

The 7.30am flight from Belfast International to Luton was all set for take off when the captain spotted two separate problems. The first was that the weight in the hold needed to be rebalanced, a situation rare in itself. But when it then turned out that there was a problem with the forward door of the jet, the captain aborted the flight in order to resolve the issues, delaying the flight for two and a half hours. The captain stated that he had never witnessed a situation like this in 20 years of flying.

In a statement released by Easyjet, the company confirmed that there had been a possible technical problem as well as weight distribution issues, with the forward door not opening “as easily as it should”. However, it was also keen to point out that “Easyjet fly one of the world’s most modern fleets.”

However, travellers in the UK will be concerned to learn that the incident comes on the back of a similar problem with a Flybe plane just a few days earlier. The plane, flight BE930 from Newcastle to Belfast Airport, was due to take off at 8.35am. However, after speeding down the runway, customers were surprised to notice that the plane was slowing down.

Once it had stopped, the pilot came in to explain that there had been a problem, and passengers then had to suffer a 10 hour delay while parts were transported to the plane.

Both of these incidents passed off without any injuries, but concern has been voiced regarding the late stage at which the problems came to light. Belfast will be hoping that no more flights to or from the airport will be affected by problems in the future.

Easyjet want railway link at Belfast airport

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.