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Belfast International Airport
Belfast International Airport is farther from Belfast city centre than the city’s other airport, George Best Belfast City Airport, but is the busiest airport in Northern Ireland and the gateway for most visitors. Hiring a car is recommended given the wide range of car rental companies and vehicles available here, and the airport’s accessibility to Belfast and nearby cities and towns. The M2 motorway is the main road connecting the airport to Belfast.
Who to Book With
Passengers arriving at Belfast International Airport will find a number of car rental companies with desks in the Arrivals hall. Argus Rentals, Avis, Auto Europe, Budget, Hertz, Sixt, Logan Car Hire, Dan Dooley, Thrifty Car Rental and a few others operate here. Visitors have several options when it comes to type of vehicle, from superminis to luxury saloons.
Need to Know Essentials
You will need to show the following documents at vehicle collection:
- Full national driving licence (held for at least two years)
- Proof of identity (passport, national ID)
- Renter's credit card
Those who opt to take rental cars to explore Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland will have to get used to narrow roads, especially in the rural areas. Hefty fines await those who use mobile phones while driving. Authorities are strict about seatbelt use. Seatbelts must be used by all persons within a moving vehicle. The speed limits are 30mph for towns and cities, and 70mph for carriageways, motorways and trunk roads. Petrol is relatively expensive and petrol stations are mostly self-service. Northern Ireland does not impose tolls on motorways.
Driving from Belfast International Airport to Belfast city centre is easy as the airport is located only 18 miles northwest. Takes the A57 for around seven miles, transferring to the M2 motorway, which leads direct to the city. The nearest train station is Antrim Station, which is easily accessible via bus number 109A from the airport. Taxi services are provided by the International Airport Taxi Company, with fixed fares to many destinations in the region. The Airport Express 300 provides transfer between the airport and Belfast city centre for around £7.
Belfast International Airport does not have a dedicated railway service. The nearest train station is Antrim Station, located six miles away. Visitors can take a cab or bus number 109A to get to the station from the airport. From Antrim, trains connect to Belfast, Lisburn and Londonderry. Two trains operated by NI Railways run hourly between Antrim and Belfast Central. The single-journey fare is around £5 (or £2.50 for children).
Taxis at Belfast International Airport are operated by International Airport Taxi Company, the official airport taxi service provider. The company’s counter is found at the right-hand side of the exit lobby.
Belfast International Airport to Belfast city centre costs around £28
Belfast International Airport to Belfast City Airport costs around £30
Belfast International Airport to Queens University Belfast costs around £30
Belfast International Airport to Bangor costs around £40
Belfast International Airport has a dedicated bus service that ferries passengers between the airport and Belfast, passing by Templepatrick, Royal Avenue and the Belfast Europa Buscentre. The service is called the Airport Express 300 and is operated by Translink. It runs 24 hours on most days of the week. Buses leave every 15 minutes from the bus stop located across from the airport terminal. Travel time from the airport to the city is about 30 to 40 minutes. The fare from the airport to Templepatrick is around £4.50 while the fare to Belfast is about £7.
Belfast International Airport has one main terminal building, with the upper floor for departures and the lower floor for arrivals. It is the second busiest airport in Ireland at large, second only to Dublin’s airport in the Republic of Ireland, and the busiest airport in Northern Ireland. In 2011, more than four million passengers went through its gates. EasyJet, Jet2, Thomas Cook Airlines and United have scheduled flights here, with several airlines running seasonal flights. It is connected to major airports in the UK, continental Europe and North America (Newark).
There are dedicated parking areas for short-term and long-term parking. An hour at a short-term parking spot is only £1. A week at a long-term parking space costs around £35.00. The Main Car Park can accommodate business and short-break passengers, allowing for up to two days’ parking. At the Main Car Park, one hour costs £3.50 while two days costs around £25.
Mobile broadband internet in the terminal building is accessible upon payment. The main Departures lounge provides internet access points for a fee.
The airport information desk and a tourist desk are available at the Arrivals area.
Airport Switchboard: +44 28 9448 4848
OCS Ireland is the provider for Belfast International Airport's facilities for persons with reduced mobility. Parking, lifts, toilets, Ambulift and pay phones have been adapted for the use of the mobility-challenged. Persons needing assistance are advised to notify their tour agent or airline should they require the use of special equipment at the airport.
Restaurants and Bars
Fast-food chains, restaurants, bars and cafés are available at the terminal building. The brands here are the Lagan Bar, Cafe Bar, Burger King, Caffe Ritazza, Starbucks, Strangford Grill and Fed and Watered.
A business lounge is located right after the duty-free shops, close to the boarding gates, and is open to all fee-paying passengers. Snacks, refreshments and internet access are provided.
Money and ATMs
The Change Group is the provider of currency exchange services at Belfast International Airport. Two counters are found here, one in the central search security area and another in the International Arrivals area.
A number of shops are found at Belfast International Airport. WHSmith is found in the Departures area and sells books, magazines, snacks and drinks. Gifts and duty-free items can be bought at the Irish Quarter and Aelia Duty Free.