Can the Belfast airports really compete with Dublin?
You'll have seen the ads. Dublin Airport is making an aggressive bid to attract travellers from Northern Ireland. Annually around 400,000 passengers from the north are now flying in and out of Dublin. The trade is seen as a threat leaching business from local airports. But should we completely change our thinking around Dublin airport? Look at it as a strategic asset - as a gateway into Northern Ireland. Work with it rather than against it?
One man who should know is Enda Corneille, the Ireland manager for Emirates. The carrier runs two return flights a day out of Dublin to their hub airport in Dubai. Could they ever come to Northern Ireland? Enda maintains in the short-term the main goal is to drive the business out of Dublin. In the podcast he talks about the plans for the Irish business, how it could assist the economy in Northern Ireland and the possibility of perhaps one day coming to Belfast.
Graham Keddie from the International Airport is bullish about the sector’s growth prospects here. He points out that passenger numbers are close to pre-recession levels and staff numbers are growing “to put it into context, we’re increased the number of people working in the airport by 500 over the past 8 months.” While admitting that it’s almost inevitable that long haul traffic is always more likely to fly from the Republic of Ireland, he says the International Airport can compete on European traffic. In the interview he talks about the focus in the years ahead and what particular routes they’re making progress on.
Start-up Section: Building an online tool for kid’s with autism
This week in our start-up section we're meeting Debbie Craig, the founder of Limejar. She’s combined her experience of raising her autistic son with her skills in software development to build an on-line platform that links the child’s parents, educators and healthcare providers. The aim is to help set up routines and create targets that children with autism can easily follow. She’s launched a kick starter campaign. You can find more details at www.boop.ie