George Best Belfast City Airport has officially opened its upgraded terminal facilities following a £15 million infrastructure investment.
The significant upgrade of the departures lounge includes new retailers, enhanced bars and restaurants, additional seating and a new security search area which has reduced average queuing times to just 6 minutes.
Joanne Deighan, Commercial Manager at Belfast City Airport, commented:
“We strive to constantly exceed customers’ expectations and put them at the heart of what we do by continually making improvements to our sales and services for the benefit of the end user.
“The upgrade of our departure lounge and retail offering will provide greater choice and significantly enhance the experience for our business and leisure passengers as they travel through the airport.
“We listened to passenger feedback throughout the refurbishment journey and are confident that Belfast City Airport is one that Northern Ireland can be truly proud of.”
Both the World Duty Free and WH Smith departure stores have undergone a full renovation, further improving the passenger experience.
Speaking on behalf of World Duty Free, Fred Creighton, Dufry’s Divisional CEO for UK and Central Europe said:
“We were delighted to have this opportunity to work in close partnership with our valued colleagues at Belfast City Airport and play our part in helping them create the exceptional customer experience they were seeking to deliver.
“Our new walk through World Duty Free store occupies a new location and is a bigger retail space. It gives passengers a more prestigious shopping environment, along with some great new brands and an extensive product choice. We’re sure our customers will love this transformation of our store and of Belfast City Airport”
WH Smith has two locations at Belfast City Airport, with one at check in and one through security in the departure lounge.
Lee Thompson, Head of Business Development for WH Smith, said:
“We are delighted to have opened a new store in such a prime location within Belfast City Airport.
“The new store offers customers a great selection of products for their journey, including a wide range of reading materials, food to go items and travel accessories.
“We very much look forward to welcoming customers to the store.”
Another change to Belfast City Airport is the addition of the Artisan, the new bar restaurant which champions local produce and Northern Irish suppliers. The competition of the Artisan has resulted in an additional 15 jobs created in the airport.
Charlotte Christiansen, Director of Business Development for HMS Host, who also operate the existing catering facilities at Belfast City Airport, added:
“The Artisan is a combination of both the old and new with traditional design elements that hark back to Belfast’s industrial and ship building heritage. Our food and beverage offerings are influenced by the North of Irelands Artisan producers and local suppliers also reflecting a modern Belfast’s vibrant restaurant culture.
“Belfast City Airport’s leadership is both imaginative and energetic; re-inventing together with their business partners, developing new concession formats in retail, food and beverage and other services.
“We have exceeded our expectations. We have seen an uplift in like for like sales, improved capture and a world class food and beverage offer to exceed Belfast City Airports passenger expectations.
“We are looking forward to a continuous partnership between HMSHost and Belfast City Airport for many years to come.”
The first new retailer to be announced was lifestyle and gift store, Born and Bred, an offshoot from the popular store, Studio Souk.
Named as one of the top 5 shopping places in Belfast by the New York Times and praised for being “the perfect place to pick up Belfast-themed gifts and souvenirs” by Lonely Planet, Linzi Rooney, Owner of Born and Bred, felt as though the airport was an ideal location for the second store.
“It is my goal to showcase our countries talented makers and designers in the Belfast City Airport.
“The Born and Bred brand has become synonymous with Northern Irish talent, forward thinking and alternative consumerism and proof that shopping local does not compromise quality or a competitive price.”
Belfast City Airport celebrated the launch of the new facilities with an exclusive reception for stakeholders, aimed at thanking key commercial partners and looking forward to the future of the business.
The work was carried out largely by H&J Martin Fit Out. Speaking on behalf of the firm, William Sproule, H&J Martin Fit Out Director, said:
“Our dedicated H&J Martin Fit Out team were thrilled to successfully complete the main elements of the refit works including the delivery of the Fit Out works at the World Duty Free.
“Our collaborative approach ensured the successful delivery of the project which will provide enhanced passenger experience at the airport for many years to come.”