Muir speaks about 'seats for sale' cap at Belfast City Airport

North Down Borough Council tonight (Tuesday 24 August 2010) discussed correspondence from the Planning Service seeking the views of North Down Borough Council on the proposal to remove the 'seats for sale' restriction at George Best Belfast City Airport.

I proposed that Council recommends that the ‘seats for sale’ limit remains for time being and removal of the ‘seats for sale’ cap is considered along with or after the Public Inquiry concerning the proposed runway extension. Cllr Stephen Farry seconded my motion

Before I outlined why I was proposing my motion I detailed that I don’t consider myself to be a ‘high flyer’ and am not opposed to flying. I stated that airplanes have brought people from across the world closer to together, providing great cultural experiences and helping businesses grow.

I detailed that I am aware of the issues that arise in relation to City Airports with same issues in relation to George Best Belfast City Airport existing in relation to other similar airports e.g. London City Airport.

Proposing the motion I detailed that constituents had contacted me and, after considering matters and attending the briefing from Belfast City Airport last Friday I had formed the opinion that removal of limit would be premature with a Public Inquiry due to take place in the near future in relation to the proposed Runway Extension.

In closing I stated that instead of removing the ‘seats for sale’ limit the Minister should be focused on the Environmental Impact of Aviation, creating a level playing field with airlines currently paid significant subsidies.

For the reasons outlined I stated that I don’t believe that the sky should be the limit and instead ‘seats for sale’ should remain the limit until or after the Public Inquiry.

Cllr Peter Weir then proposed that the correspondence from the Planning Service be noted and, after a number of other Councillors spoke the matter was put to a vote. My motion wasn’t carried. Cllr Weir’s motion was then considered and was carried.