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Belfast Airport Guide

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History

  • Aldergrove was selected to be the Royal Flying Corps training establishment during the First World War.
  • After the war Aldergrove remained open for Royal Air Force aircraft and for the fledgling civil traffic to and from Northern Ireland.
  • In 1921 King George V and Queen Mary visited Northern Ireland. Aircraft landed at Aldergrove with cameramen and reporters and returned to London with newsreel films and photographs of the event.
  • 1925 saw Northern Ireland's own Special Reserve unit No 502 (Ulster) Squadron RAF formed at Aldergrove.
  • By 1934 Aldergrove was Northern Ireland's civil airport
  • 1934 saw the first London service begin to Nutts Corner. The flight flew from Croyden, via Birmingham and Manchester to Belfast and was operated by Railway Air Services.
  • During the second World War, Aldergrove remained an airbase.
  • After the war civil flights were moved back to Aldergrove due to less variable weather conditions than at Nutts Corner.
  • In 1963 operations were transferred to Aldergrove and the first passenger flight to land was a BEA Viscount from Manchester.
  • In October 1963 HRH Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother reopened Aldergrove as a civil airport and introduced the terminal building
  • The first regular jet service began in 1966 with a British United BAC 1-11 to Gatwick
  • By 1969 annual passengers at the airport had reached 1 million
  • 30 years on Belfast airport is the principal gateway to the north of Ireland and sees over 4 million passengers through the terminal each year.