Flights resume after four-day Derry Airport shutdown

The City of Derry Airport was reopened today after regulatory officials approved new passenger safety measures.

A British Airways flight to Dublin was first off – a couple of minutes late - after a four-day shut down.

Other services operated by BA and charter flights were resuming during the day, but Ryanair flights were not resuming until tomorrow.

There were calls for a full investigation of what was a major embarrassment Derry City Council, the owner of the airport which serves passengers in Co Londonderry and across the border in Co Donegal.

The Civil Aviation Authority ordered its closure last Thursday following an audit of safety standards. Unsatisfactory repairs to an aircraft parking area and the lack of an effective bird control plan were blamed.

Over the bank holiday weekend contractors carried out the necessary remedial work on the aircraft parking area, made improvements to the bird management system – including covering culverts and ponds with netting – and carried out minor drainage improvements adjacent to the runway.

A joint inspection of the work by the CAA and the airport authority cleared the way for the reopening.

A spokesman for the airport, Councillor Joe Miller, said: “A team has worked tirelessly over the weekend to ensure that optimum safety standards are met and agreed remedial actions along with a full audit of the aerodrome and a review of the safety management system are in place.

“This is a positive result and we will move forward with confidence that we are working closely with the CAA and with their approval”.

Sinn Fein Derry City Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn, a member of the airport liaison committee at the council, pledged to have the whole affair thoroughly investigated.

“It is now incumbent of Derry City Council and its Airport Committee to examine the causes of this crisis in an open and transparent manner in order to reassure the travelling public and to apportion responsibility for any failures,” he said.

“Management needs to inform us if they had any advance notice that matters were not right at the airport,” he added.

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