Belfast International Airport

We provide Air Traffic Control (ATC) services at 13 UK airports. At BIA we provide tower, approach and engineering services.

Tower Services

This is an ATC service provided for the airport and surrounding airspace. The controllers will look out of the tower windows, as well as at the ATC equipment, to give aircraft clearance to taxi, take-off and land.


This is a radar-based control service located in the lower part of the tower. Incoming aircraft are managed from approximately 40 miles away from the aerodrome, generally under 10,000ft.


An engineering team, based at the airport, are responsible for maintaining air traffic control services, such as radar and the Instrument Landing System (ILS).

The Operation: 2019

The current tower opened in 1987 and NATS has been providing an ATC service since then.

  • Flights: 59259 (-2% on 2018)
  • Passengers: 6.3m (+0.2% on 2018)
  • Busiest ranking: 14th—UK’s busiest airport (flights)

Annual flight movements (historical)



BIA handles over 60% of Northern Ireland’s business related air travel.

  • Furthest direct route travelled to: Las Vegas, USA
  • Most travelled to destination: Spain
  • Airports served: 70

The Airport

There are some special residents that make BIA a unique airport, it has a c.60 hares living on the airfield. BIA operate a long grass policy to deter the birds, however the hares love it.

  • Height of tower: 85m
  • 2 Runways:
    • 1,951m X 45m north-south runway
    • 2,780m X 45m east-west runway

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