I am on record as being a fan of Ryanair. They may treat people like cattle, and their chief person may be a gigantic horses ass, but they are openly bastardish and they have done more than any other airline to bring prices down on the routes that I fly most.
Which is why I think that the people who are celebrating this decision are a) in the wrong and b) quite possibly buffoons.
Belfast City Airport has been there, doing its thing, for far longer people have been complaining about it. Back before relatively sensible passenger jets were using it in accordance with noise abatement procedures, freaking Canberras were doing it, and newly built planes of all shapes and sizes. And in recent years, Ryanair have been using it to bring much cheaper air travel to the city, in a more convenient place than Aldergrove.
Ryanair’s decision to fly into BHD saved me literally hundreds of pounds; they were consistently about a third cheaper than easyJet and the City was close enough that people were happier giving me regular lifts than they would have been if I’d been asking them to go twenty miles into the Antrim countryside. Also: Ryanair fly Boeings, which are just nicer aircraft than the Airbuses of easyJet.
I’ll admit that the noise was sometimes annoying, but Ryanair were far from the worst cuplrit (say hello to BMI’s A320s for that honour). My house in Belfast was on the flightpath, and on the outward leg I could often check that my car was appropriately parked outside the house. But be honest: no big city in the UK is without aircraft noise. It’s part of the cost of the world we live in, and it’s cheap at the price.
But the NIMBY brigade have won this round, and now we’re going to be left with easyJet (whose fares I expect to rise, because of the lack of competition), flyBe (who are by no definition a lowfares airline), BMI (who are at least honest about being expensive) and Aer Lingus (who fly to places I don’t want to go).
Brilliant. Giant steps backwards for the integration of NI into the wider world. Chalk up a big loss for us all…