Northern Ireland news

Airports welcome thousands of Christmas travellers

Jill McDonald greets her grandchild Annie at Belfast International Airport. Picture by Pacemaker

TENS of thousands of Christmas travellers flew into the north's airports yesterday on one of the busiest days of the festive period.

Belfast International Airport welcomed around 20,000 people alone as travellers returned home to spend time with their loved ones.

Dublin Airport expected more than 80,000 passengers to arrive and depart yesterday and around one million over Christmas.

Rail and ferry services and the roads network were also busy with long tailbacks reported in Belfast.

The RAC dubbed yesterday Frantic Friday and strongly urged drivers to avoid long journeys if possible.

Meanwhile, thousands of airline passengers, including many travelling to Ireland, suffered delays and cancellations when Bristol Airport suspended flights.

The suspension happened after a BMI aircraft came off the runway while taxiing to the terminal upon landing from Frankfurt shortly after 11.30am.

No-one was injured but at least 60 flights were cancelled or diverted while the recovery effort was completed.

The cancelled flights included Aer Lingus services to Dublin and Cork, Ryanair services to Dublin and two easyJet flights to Belfast.

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