Airport honoured to welcome G8 leaders
Published: 16 June 2013
Japanese Prime Minister arrives
Belfast International Airport says it is honoured to welcome the G8 leaders to Northern Ireland.
Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was the first leader to arrive, making the start of the historic global event. Mr Abe's Boeing 747-400 landed on the newly re-surfaced main runway. He was accompanied by key advisers and accredited Japanese media.
Mr Abe is the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit Northern Ireland.
Pictures of Mr Abe emerging from his aircraft and being officially welcomed by local ministers and airport Managing Director, John Doran, at the foot of the aircraft steps, were beamed worldwide by the international media contingent.
Other G8 leaders will arrive at the airport in the morning.
The G8 is the single most important event in the 50 years the International Airport has been in operation.
In the past the airport has accommodated royalty and US Presidents, but this is the first time so many of world leaders will have used the facility at the same time.
Security for the G8 leaders arrival is extensive with Police checkpoints on all approach roads and a considerable security presence inside the Terminal building.
Belfast International Airport Managing Director, John Doran, said: "Just as this G8 summit is an opportunity to show the world what Northern Ireland has to offer, so too is it an occasion to promote the airport and its many strengths.
"We have the space and the capability to accommodate some of the largest and most modern aircraft in the world and this global event clearly demonstrates the importance of international connectivity and the role we perform in the wider economy.
"Belfast International has worked closely with all the delegations to iron out logistics and to guarantee a seamless operation for the Fermanagh Summit.
"This global event easily eclipses anything we have done in the past. I'm very proud of the crucial role we are playing in this historic event, and the work of our staff who made the whole experience look very much a part of their everyday routine.
"This is a huge honour for the airport and there is no better way to mark our 50th anniversary than with such a prestigious event as the G8. Our job is to make sure everything works like clockwork for the leaders and their entourages. They're most welcome to our airport and we hope they will pay us a return visit one day."
"On behalf of myself and all my team, I would like to warmly welcome the G8 leaders to this airport and to Northern Ireland and to wish them well in their deliberations."