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Work begins on food hall and fuel forecourt

£2.5m BIAL development underway W

ORK has begun on the new £2.5 million retail, food hall and fuel forecourt at Belfast International Airport. The contract to build on the 1.6- acre site was awarded to building and civil engineering contractors, RJ McKelvey Ltd of Castlederg, County Tyrone.

The company saw off competition from several other firms to win the contract which will help maintain approximately 30 construction jobs over the next seven months.

The new facility will lead to the creation of 35 full and part-time jobs, which will generate about £500,000 in wages into the local economy.

Developer, Moorefield Contracts, says RJ McKelvey Ltd had the right level of know-how and experience to complete the privately-financed construction project.

Canice Mallaghan of Moorefield

Contracts said: “A proven track record in construction, combined with an ability to stick to budget, were important factors in awarding the contract to RJ McKelvey Ltd. We’re pleased that the work is going to be carried out by a local firm that has earned an enviable reputation over its 31 years in operation.

“We have some top ‘High Street’ names lined up to take space in our development. We’re currently completing negotiations with retail and food providers which will add a whole new and exciting dimension to what’s currently available in the immediate airport area. We expect to be a position to confirm names in coming weeks.

Robert McKelvey from RJ McKelvey Ltd said: “We’re delighted to have won this important contract.

“This is a home-grown company awarding a contract to another local firm, and that means it’s a win-

win for the local economy. “Moorefield Contracts have spotted an opening in the market near Belfast International Airport and I have no doubt but that it will be an unqualified success.” Belfast International Airport Director of Commercial Development, Brian Carlin, said: “This decision to award the contract to RJ McKelvey Ltd moves the project into an exciting phase for the developer.

“Moorefield Contracts knows our current and future airport growth is impressive. We will have a record-breaking 2017, and that means higher demand for what will be on offer at this new, much- needed facility.”

Pictured performing the sod- cutting was South Antrim MP, Danny Kinahan, alongside Canice Mallaghan (Moorefield Contracts), Brian Carlin (Belfast International Airport) and Robert McKelvey (RJ McKelvey Ltd).

Eva Burnside from Belfast enjoys the Stena Line Kids’ Cruise KIDS’ STUFF ON THE HIGH SEAS

LEADING ferry company Stena Line is inviting children to take to the seas and enjoy a fun family day out with a difference as the hugely successful Kids Cruises return.

With different themed cruises running throughout the year, parents have plenty of time to find a costume for their little ones, and with themes such as Pirates and Princesses and Superheroes, there is something to suit everyone!

Tickets are available from £12 per person, with family tickets (2 adults and 2 children/infants) from only £44. Particularly suitable for under-8s, everyone is welcome and fantastic family fun is guaranteed for passengers from the moment they board. Kids will be treated to a day of dressing up, dancing, face-painting, karaoke, disco, puppet show and much more as they sail across the Irish Sea. Orla Noonan, Travel Commercial Manager at Stena Line said: “We are delighted that the Kids Cruises are making a welcome return as Mums, Dads and the kids just love them. Whether parents are looking for a day out with a difference for the kids or for a fun birthday party idea, the cruises will be a special treat for all onboard.

“The Cruises are always action-packed for the little ones but there is plenty for adults to enjoy too including the comfy seating, speciality coffee from Barista and great places to eat and drink. Customers can stay in touch while they travel using our free Wi- Fi, complimentary use of iPads, a free cinema as well as choose from a great range of dining options and meal deals. Our onboard shop offers up to 50% savings compared to the high street so people can enjoy a bit of retail therapy and customers will receive a £5 onboard shopping voucher when they spend £25** or more,” Orla added.

The non-landing cruises depart Belfast at 11.30am and set sail for Cairnryan, returning to Belfast at 5.45pm. Pirates and Princesses Cruise departs on 4th March, 20th April, 6th & 20th May, 3rd June and 9th September.

Superheroes Cruise departs on 1st & 29th April, 13th & 27th May, 10th & 24th June and 23rd September. Wizards and Witches Cruise departs on 28th & 31st October.

See Santa at Sea Cruise departs on 25th & 26th November and 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th & 17th December.

Airlines ‘should stop hiding charges’

FINNAIR has announceed that their flagship long haul aircraft, the Airbus A350 XWB will operate a daily service between London Heathrow and Helsinki replacing the current Airbus A320 aircraft on the route.

Belfast International Airport’s Brian Carlin, second right, taking part in the sod cutting of the development

From March 27, 2017 passengers travelling on flights AY832 between London and Helsinki and AY831 between Helsinki and London will be able to enjoy long haul levels of comfort and space on board the world’s most modern commercial aircraft throughout the short flight of 2 hours and 55 minutes. Andrew Fish, Finnair General Manager UK & Ireland & Benelux, said: “Finnair is delighted to be operating the world’s most advanced airliner, the Airbus A350 XWB, between London Heathrow and Helsinki. The change, from a smaller short haul configured Airbus A320 aircraft, allows the airline to meet the increased demand for passenger and cargo capacity on this busy route. The A350 flight from

London Heathrow is perfectly timed to offer a short connection via Helsinki Airport onto Finnair’s long haul A350 services to Asia offering customers a seamless product experience.”

The A350’s bright and spacious cabin features large panoramic view windows and comfortable seating arrangements in both cabin classes. All Finnair A350s are equipped with Wi-Fi for greater passenger enjoyment and connectivity.The on board Wi-Fi portal, which can be accessed with passengers' own devices, providing complimentary access to and Finnair services such as destination information, customer care and pre-order shopping. Customers can determine the planned aircraft type of their flight by clicking on the flight number during the online booking or by consulting their travel agent. Finnair also operates flights from Manchester, Dublin and Edinburgh direct to Helsinki providing seamless quick and efficient transfers to 17 cities across Asia.

Big increase in Emirates passengers coming from Northern Ireland

EMIRATES Airlines has been successful in attracting many Northern Ireland travellers away from UK hubs such as London and Manchester. In fact Emirates Country Manager Enda Corneille said that the airline now carries up to 800 travellers a day from Dublin on its two flights a day to Dubai. Passengers from Northern Ireland have grown by more than 50 per cent in the past year, he said, flying to Dubai and onward to more than 150 destinations worldwide.

"We have just celebrated five years into Dublin. We have carried 1.2 million passengers in that time and 120,000 tonnes of cargo," he said.

"We started off with a single aircraft, and now it's

double daily. And given how much the business has grown, the next logical step would be to bring a flagship aircraft, such as the A380. But the earliest that could happen would be summer 2018." He added: "Our business from Northern Ireland is plus 51 per cent on last year, people getting the bus or driving down. Dubai is one of the most popular destinations, long haul, for Northern Ireland passengers."

He said that for the first time the company had appointed a representative in the Province and had an increased presence in Northern Ireland. The Emirates chief added that customers from NI were opting to travel to Dublin to fly to the Middle East,

rather than going through hubs such as London. Some years ago, before setting up in Dublin, Emirates had been talking to Belfast International Airport about the possibility of starting a service from Belfast. There have also been talks more recently although the current success of the Dublin service would appear to rule out the Northern Ireland option for now.

He said that while setting up in Belfast was "not on the cards at the moment ... who knows where the business is going".

Emirates now has 14 weekly flights to the Middle East on a Boeing 777, which can hold 362 passengers. Load factor is a healthy around 80 to 85 per cent on


Emirates have also confirmed that there will be a visit from an Emirates A380 to Dublin at the end of the month.

Said a statement: “Emirates can confirm that an A380 aircraft on its way to Dubai will visit Dublin at the end of March to mark the 5th anniversary of the airline in Ireland. Emirates is the largest operator of the iconic aircraft, with 93 currently in service. The visit does not herald any announcements in relation to an Emirates A380 service on the Dublin to Dubai route. Details on flight arrival time will be confirmed at a later date as we know there will be great interest in the A380 landing at Dublin Airport.”

March 2017 Travel News

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