23 FEBRUARY 2015
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The big question mark of whether Northern Ireland with a population of 1.8m needs two airports (and three if you include Londonderry), plus rapidly expanding Dublin down the road, has hit the headlines again. (See also in this issue Aer Lingus gets new CEO)
The Irish flag carrier, which is in the middle of a proposed takeover by International Airlines Group (IAG), is accused of breach of contract over its move to Belfast George Best City Airport in 2012. Belfast International has put in a claim against Aer Lingus for £40m damages. The two airports are due in court in Belfast in April.
Air industry sources said Belfast International’s lawyers brought in independent forensic accountants to analyse the losses caused by the departure of Aer Lingus. Their report advised that Belfast International should now put in a claim of damages worth £40m.
No one from the airport’s lawyers, Belfast firm Carson McDowell, or Belfast International Airport, was prepared to confirm or deny the figure.
Aer Lingus said: “Aer Lingus is not willing to comment on the detail of this case given that a hearing is pending; however, they are strenuously contesting the claims made by Belfast International Airport.”
In 2007 Aer Lingus signed a 10-year contract to fly from Belfast International Airport. However, in 2012, following the closure of bmi Baby, it relocated. www.belfastcityairport.com www.aerlingus.com
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