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Parking at Belfast International
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Since BFS serves more than 5.1 million passengers a year, there is a vast range of parking options to choose from there. You can turn up and pay on the day, but it is advised that you pre-book to avoid disappointment and save money.
The main car park at Belfast International Airport is ideal for those who are taking a short trip. No transfers are required as it is only two minutes from the terminal.
The short-stay car park is perfect for drop-offs and for stays of a few hours. If you’re dropping a passenger off, be sure to take change for parking in the drop-off zone to avoid delays and extra charges. It is only two minutes’ walk away from the terminal.
The walk from the long-stay car park at BFS takes no more than a six-minute stroll from check-in. It is perfect for those who are travelling from a few days to weeks. If you need a shuttle bus, make sure you request one using the intercoms at one of the eight bus stops around the car park. The shuttle bus is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you need not worry about travel to the terminal.
Whilst you’re away, CCTV will be in use and the secured car parks are patrolled regularly by staff, so your vehicle is always safe and sound at Belfast International.
Belfast International Airport (BFS) was formerly known and is still referred to as Aldergrove Airport, named after the nearby village of Aldergrove to the west of the airport. The main terminal was opened by the Queen Mother in 1963 for civil flights. With over 5.1 million passengers travelling through the airport in 2016, it is the busiest airport in Northern Ireland.
BFS is situated in the north west of Northern Ireland 18 miles (29 kilometres) outside Belfast and is easy to get to via a network of main roads and motorways. Frequent and reliable public transport options are available to the airport, including trains, buses, coaches, taxis and car hire. If travelling in the car, it is most likely you’ll follow the M2/M1 motorway. There are handy bus services directly from Belfast Europa Bus Centre, Derry/Londonderry and Lisburn. If you’re travelling by train, the nearest train station is Atrim rail station 6.8 miles (10.9 kilometres) from the airport.
Aldergrove Airport was selected to be the grounds for the Royal Flying Corps training facility during the World War I in 1917. Post-war, it remained open for Royal Air Force aircraft and continued to serve this purpose throughout World War I. It was later decided that civil flights should move back to Aldergrove because the weather conditions at Nutts Corner were more adverse.
After the terminal was opened in 1963, the first regular jet service by a British United BAC 1-11 to Gatwick began, which is still the most popular destination for travellers using BFS today. Now, it is a lively airport serving over five million passengers per year.
As Northern Ireland’s capital city’s main airport, there are plenty of facilities to keep you busy while you wait for your flight. You’re bound to find something to do here, whether you’re travelling with children for a family holiday or with a briefcase as a business traveller.
The airport boasts a vast collection of services, which include but are not limited to restaurants, fast food venues, ATMs, shops, bars, a pharmacy, the Causeway lounge and currency exchange desks.
It is possible to combine a hotel stay and parking at Belfast International Airport. To view the best deals and compare, just click on the Airport Hotels tab on our website, choose which night you want to stay and book without hassle.
There are a few options for combining parking with a hotel stay here. To avoid the stressful motorway congestion that you’d encounter if you drove there early in the morning, there is Maldron hotel only 50 metres from the terminal. They have options to upgrade to superior hotel rooms to get your trip off to a luxurious start. There are also cheaper budget hotels near the airport, which help you save a little more money to spend on your trip. The Holiday Inn Express Antrim M2 is only 10 minutes’ drive from the airport.
If you’re wanting to learn a thing or two about how BFS operates, the viewing gallery is the place to go. Not only does it have some amazing panoramic views of the airfield, but visitors can also observe communications between Air Traffic Control and the cockpit as the crews prepare for landings and take-offs. What’s more, there’s a flight tracker that shows aircraft activity throughout the day.
To begin your holiday, why not visit Fed and Watered, BFS’s newest café-bar. It serves a taste of Ireland in its locally-sourced meals and has amazing views over the airfield, so you can do some indoor plane-spotting whilst you eat. As well as the amazing view and food (for which you can pre-check the menus), the airport has award-winning wines to quench your holiday-inspired thirst.
The Aelia Duty Free store offers an extensive range of products to buy, with everything from perfume and cosmetics to alcohol and tobacco and fashion and accessories to food and electricals.
Please note that there is a one-bag rule that allows for one bag of shopping in addition to your hand luggage on the plane. What’s more, there’s a ‘shop and collect’ option that allows you to pick up your purchase upon your return. Speak to a member of staff in store or call them on telephone number 0044 (0)28 9448 4761 for more information.
What makes the shopping experience unique at BFS is the ‘Discover Belfast’ area of Aelia Duty Free. It houses a unique range of Northern Irish brands and products. Bushmills’ iconic range of whiskies and Hilden Brewery’s famous local beers are all available and, for the rugby fans, there are home and away designs of Ulster rugby shirts for you to prove you’ve been there.
For those who want to find a quiet place to work before a flight, or if you want to add a touch of luxury before your family holiday, you will find all you need in the tranquil surroundings of the Causeway Lounge.
Its influence comes from the iconic north coast landmark, Giant’s Causeway, and offers what you would expect from a world-class facility. It brings hi-speed WiFi and power outlets to get those last-minute emails and social posts done before you go.
For one last bite of Northern Ireland, there is a buffet that boasts a range of treats from local artisan food producers. Guests can also help themselves to a variety of complimentary drinks from the bar area.
There’s even a play area to tire the kids out before a long trip.
Traveller is your holiday shop for the key looks your holiday wardrobe needs. There is a range of clothing, footwear and accessories. What sets Traveller apart from other high street brands is that their buyers spend a huge amount of time researching the current trends of the world’s best holiday destinations, so you’ll no doubt find what you need and get the lowdown on the latest emerging trends wherever you’re going. It also caters for the winter sports market, so you can fashion the hottest look even in freezing cold temperatures.
If you’re only heading to the airport to wait for a passenger, you can grab lunch at the Café Bar. Located in the arrivals hall, it’s the perfect place to wait for friends or family. It has a fabulous range of hot and cold drinks, speciality coffees and continental baked goods. You can also grab goods from Caffé Ritazza if you’re a passenger in the departure lounge.
It is one of Ireland’s most iconic landmarks and is a must-see. It has unique rock formations seen only on this coastline. The beautiful scenery is seen in many film and TV shows, so forget watching it on the screen and get a real sense of its amazing polygonal columns of stone. For the ultimate guest experience with a guided tour, book before you go here.
One of the TV shows featuring the Giant’s Causeway is Game of Thrones. With a massive following, Winterfell Tours boasts a vast range of themed activities. These include cycling tours of set destinations, an archery movie-set experience, boat tours and glamping. Even if you’re not a fan, you’re guaranteed to find an activity you’ll like here.
This place is pure indulgence. Treat your body and mind to a session of peace just a ten-minute drive from the airport. With a swimming pool, its own private golf course and spa treatments, it is the ultimate start to your trip.
The Lagan Boat Company offers a tour around Belfast Harbour where Titanic was designed, built and launched. By boat, you can enjoy a unique perspective of Belfast’s historic harbour, which is full of interesting sights and stories both old and new.
If you’d rather walk than be on a boat, the towpath is a fascinating way to wonder through Northern Ireland’s capital and enjoy the idyllic natural beauty of the river itself. You can spot wildlife whilst you’re at it, including kingfishers, herons, otters and seals. Be sure to check out The Big Fish near the Customs House. It is a 32ft (10m) salmon sculpture composed of tiles that tell stories of the city.
For those wanting an alternative view of Belfast, this walking tour uncovers hidden art around the city. You can find out the back-story of each piece and it’s a great opportunity to explore the lesser-visited parts of Belfast. You can also learn how street art has evolved into Belfast’s annual street art festival, for which you can buy tickets online here.
This place is like a museum, but you can drink your favourite stout here. It has been running since 1826 and it beguiles the eye with every glance. It houses mosaics, pressed ceiling, brocaded walls, stained glass windows, antique bells, carved wooden swans and a red granite bar. It really is a gem of the city.
As an important part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage, this needs to be on your list of things to do in the city. The gardens have been enjoyed by the public since 1895 – there is an extensive rose garden and the 200-year-old rare oak plants will delight tree enthusiasts everywhere.
BFS has only one main terminal, so there’s no need to worry about how to get around. For departures, you’ll be on the upper floor and for arrivals the lower. Companies such as Jet2.com, Thomas Cook, Ryanair or EasyJet operate at the airport. Other companies operate seasonally, including Thomson Airways and Virgin Atlantic. The main routes departing from this airport are mostly to UK destinations, with London Gatwick proving to be the busiest route. Destinations in Spain follow London in terms of popularity.
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Passengers traveling by car reach the airport via the M2 motorway. It is situated just 18 miles (29 kilometres) north west of Belfast. From the city, take the M2, turn off at Junction 5 and take the A57 for seven miles until you reach the airport. If you’re travelling from the south or west, take the M1 northbound, turn off at Moira junction 9 and continue via the A26 and Nutts Corner to Belfast International Airport.
Sat Nav instructions: BT29 4AB - directed to Crumlin? Exit via Nutts Corner Road, then follow the signs to Belfast International Airport
There are three main bus routes you can take from locations in Northern Ireland. The Airport Express 300 operates a regular service throughout the week, including weekends. It stops directly outside the main terminal and departs from the airport bus stop located opposite the terminal exit. This service’s journey time is around 30-40 minutes, subject to traffic conditions.
If you’re travelling to or from Lisburn, catch the Ulsterbus 109A to BFS. It operates hourly between 6am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday.
If you’re travelling to or from Derry (Londonderry), catch the Airporter. It is a scheduled coach service between BFS and the north west seven days a week. What’s more, this service has complimentary WiFi.
The nearest train station to BFS is Antrim railway station, 6.2 miles (10 kilometres) away. It is serviced by the Antrim Airlink bus route, so no need to worry about booking a taxi. There are connections from Belfast, Lisburn and Derry.
The official taxi operator for BFS is the International Airport Company, available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. If you’ve had a long holiday and don’t fancy hanging around for public transport, the taxi rank just outside the right door of the airport will have a car available for you. There is also a taxi share scheme to Belfast available for travellers.
For bookings, contact the International Airport Company by calling: +44 (0)28 9448 4353 or book online here.
Directly adjacent to the terminal building is a drop-off zone. You can stop for up to ten minutes for a small fee, but for those wanting to spend extra time with their passengers before departure, the short-stay and main car parks are available close to the terminal building. The short-stay and main car parks may also be used if you would like to greet your returning passenger in the arrival hall.
Passengers travelling with an economy ticket are still welcome to pay to use the Causeway Lounge. You’ll get an extra bit of peace and quiet away from the lively airport departure lounge. Pre-book here or pay when you get there if you desire.
If you need to leave something behind whilst on your travels, there is an option to keep it safe at the airport. Travellers who wish to leave keys safe, rather than risk taking them on their travels can do so at a small fixed price per item.
If you’re travelling in the car to BFS at peak travel times, AA Roadwatch can send traffic updates directly to your mobile phone, so you can change route and plan your journey to help avoid heavy congestion. The text service has a small charge per text and will only send them if the delay is greater than 10 minutes.
Belfast International Airport is situated 18 miles (29 kilometres) from Belfast. There are plenty of different options for getting there with good transport links from Belfast, Derry (Londonderry) and Lisburn, which run regularly and reliably. The post code is BT29 4AB. If your sat nav directs you to Crumlin, simply exit via Nutts Corner Road and follow the clearly marked road signs to Belfast International Airport.
The airport code for Belfast International is BFS.
BFS is open 24 hours a day, but passengers have reported that security do not let you through at night unless your flight is leaving within the next few hours, so it is not always possible to sleep there before an early flight.
If you require special assistance at BFS, you are advised to contact the airline you are travelling with prior to your flight. In most cases, you can request it at the time of booking. There are disabled toilets located throughout the terminal buildings, including one in the check in hall, five in the departures area and three in the arrivals area.
When you’re going through security, it will assist the process if passengers advise staff of their personal requirements prior to a search. Where appropriate, letters from medical practitioners should be made available to the security staff.
Those planning to travel with personal Electric Mobility Aid should provide the make and model information to the airline at the time of booking.
The majority of routes leaving BFS are to UK destinations: Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow International, Liverpool, Luton, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Destinations outside of the UK include: Alicante, Amsterdam, Faro, Kraków, Málaga, Paris – Charles de Gaulle, Milan B, Berlin, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gdansk, Warsaw, Wroclaw, Nice, Jersey, Ibiza, Geneva, Faro, Reus, Turkey, Corfu, Verona and Bulgaria. Seasonally, there are flights outside of Europe, which include Las Vegas, Cancun and Florida. For more information there is an airline and destination list here.
Yes, Belfast International Airport has car hire desks for Avis, Budget and Hertz.
Yes, it is possible to combine airport parking with a hotel stay at Belfast International Airport. You can compare your options with Looking4.com before you travel.
Yes, there is the Causeway Lounge to get some rest or sleep before your flight. You may pre-book online or just turn up and pay on the day if you prefer.
Hand luggage regulations vary. This information should be printed on your booking confirmation or flight ticket. Please visit your airline’s website or contact them directly for more information.
Sockets are found in the Causeway Lounge, which you can pre-book here.
If you have lost property in the terminal building, contact ICTS Customer Services by calling +44 (0)7786333197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have lost property onboard an aircraft, please contact the relevant handling agent. You can access the handling agent list here.
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