Belfast International Airport is located about 21 km from the center of Belfast itself. The actual community where it is located is called Aldergrove. Belfast and Aldergrove are located within County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. The abbreviation is either BFS or EGAA. Two runways help Belfast International serve more than 57,460 airplane movements.
Both domestic and international travel originates from the airport, and the emphasis is on national and European destinations. More than 4.1 million passengers used Belfast International in 2011. Its only rival is Belfast City Airport, which serves far fewer passengers and is designated mainly for short hauls.
Located on one of the oldest airfields in the world, Belfast International was once called Aldergrove Airport. Aldergrove, at the time, was just a nearby village. The important airfield opened in 1917 to train the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. After the war, the airstrip continued to be used as a military base. The Navy agreed to commercial flights in the early 1930s, and the first commercial flights took off in 1933.
The Belfast/London route, which would become a major route for the Belfast International Airport, was first flown in 1934. During World War II, the base was expanded to include the longer runways that it still has today. In 1963, the Queen Mother presided over the opening of a new terminal, which had been built to accommodate jet service. This was the beginning of a busy time for the airport. The civilian airport was privatized in 1994. The RAF Aldergrove Base finally closed in 2008, leaving only the Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station.
Belfast Airport Terminal
Today there is one main terminal that serves all flights and all airlines. Departing passengers use the upper level. The airport advises that all travelers arrive two hours early. These passengers should check in with their airline an hour or more before travel. Flight check-in may close as early as 40 minutes before departure, and passengers will be denied boarding if they did not make this deadline.
Before security, facilities include shops, eateries, a business lounge, currency exchange, an airport information booth, and ATM cash machines. Parking is available in the main long term or short term parking areas. In addition, there is an economy lot with a shuttle bus to bring visitors to the terminal. The drop off/pick up zone is another option. For a small fee, drivers can stop for thirty minutes to an hour, in order to drop off or pick up family and friends who are traveling to/from the airport.
For internet access, passengers in the main departure lounge can use a plug-in, pay-as-you-go internet service. BT Openzone wireless service is available in the terminal building as well. Arrivals will find baggage claim on the lower level. There is also an information desk and currency exchange. It is illegal to smoke in the building, but there are specified areas outside the building where smoking is allowed. Before security, designated smoking areas are available adjacent to the main terminal doors. After security, smokers can pay a small fee to access the airside smoking facility located by Lagan Bar.