15,000 jobs in Belfast airport mooted


The owners of Belfast International Airport, Welsh property company TBI, have announced plans to invest £100 million sterling in a development which could create up to 15,000 jobs over the next five years. The project, if successful, would be the largest single job creator ever in the North, reducing overall unemployment by almost 25 per cent.

TBI bought the airport last year for £107 million. It also owns airports in Cardiff and Florida. It intends to develop 190 acres of adjacent land with facilities for aircraft maintenance, call centres, cargo bays, hangers, warehousing, offices and business units.

A non-food factory outlet village has also been proposed, similar to those in the US, where designer clothes will be on sale at discount prices. There are plans for a new railway station on the Antrim line, restaurants and bars, a petrol station, fitness and leisure centre, and industrial storage units.

The company said it has not sought government grant aid for its planned development. The scheme is still in the early stages and TBI have only recently applied for planning permission. Its property director, Mr Geoffrey Springer, said that a major part of the scheme was aimed at taking advantage of a "niche opportunity" in the call centre market.

"When a company wants a facility like this, they invariably want it straight away, not in a few years time, " he said.