November 1917

Aldergrove selected to be the Royal Flying Corps training establishment during the First World War. With the end of the war, Aldergrove remained open for Royal Air Force aircraft and for the fledgling civil traffic to and from Northern Ireland.

Nov 1917

June 1921

King George V and Queen Mary visited Northern Ireland. Aircraft landed at Aldergrove with cameramen and reporters and returned to London with newsreel films and photographs of the event.

Jun 1951

May 1925

Northern Ireland's own Special Reserve unit No 502 (Ulster) Squadron RAF was formed at Aldergrove.

May 1925


During the second World War, Aldergrove remained an RAF base, particularly for the Coastal Command.

Jan 1939


The decision was taken to move civil flights back to Aldergrove because of less variable weather conditions than those at Nutts Corner. In recent years aircraft had been diverted from Nutts Corner to Aldergrove because of adverse weather conditions.

Jan 1946

26 Sept 1963

Operations were transferred from Nutts Corner to Aldergrove. The first passenger flight to land that day was a BEA Viscount from Manchester.

Sep 1963

28 Oct 1963

HRH Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother reopened Aldergrove as a civil airport and inaugurated the present terminal building.

Oct 1963

4 January 1966

The start of the first regular jet service, by a British United BAC 1-11 to Gatwick.

Jan 1966


Aer Lingus and BOAC started scheduled services to New York via Shannon and Prestwick respectively.

Jan 1968


Annual passenger numbers hit the 1 million mark.

Jan 1969


The Minister of Development revealed a £3million expansion plan for the airport which included the extension of the main runway by over 3,000 ft.

Jan 1970

1 Jun 1971

The newly formed Northern Ireland Airports Limited took over operation of the airport from the UK Department of Trade and Industry.

Jun 1971

1 April 1977

British Airways launch the first Belfast Heathrow shuttle service.

Apr 1977

3 July 1977

The first Jumbo jet operates from Aldergrove on a charter service to Toronto via Shannon.

Jul 1977

January 1980

The first scheduled service to a European city was started by NLM Cityhopper which operated flights to Amsterdam.

Jan 1980

January 1983

Work finished on the second stage of the long term development plan which included the completion of the dedicated international pier, relocation of the check-in area and the installation of the moving walkway.

The Airport was renamed Belfast International.

Jan 1983

January 1984

Annual passenger numbers hit the 1.5 million mark.

Jan 1984

26 March 1984

British Midland went into competition with BA on the Heathrow route.

Mar 1984

January 1987

The new Executive Aviation Terminal was opened.

Annual passenger numbers hit the 2 million mark.

Jan 1987

17 July 1991

The new cargo centre was officially opened.

Jul 1991

20 July 1994

Belfast International Airport was privatised following a management buy-out resulting in the creation of Belfast International Airport Holdings Ltd.

Jul 1994

30 November 1995

Air Force One landed at Belfast International carrying the former US President and First Lady, Bill and Hilary Clinton.

Nov 1995

13 August 1996

Belfast International was bought by TBI.

Aug 1996

January 1998

easyJet started operations from Belfast International Airport.

Jan 1998


Annual passenger numbers hit the 3 million mark.

Jan 1999

21 October 2003

Concorde touches down at Belfast International on its final farewell tour.

Oct 2003


Annual passenger numbers hit the 4.5 million mark.

Jan 2004

5 January 2005

The TBI group is bought over by ACDL.

Jan 2005

27 May 2005

Continental Airlines start direct services between Belfast International Airport and New York Newark.

May 2005


Annual passenger numbers hit the 5 million mark.

Jan 2006

10 December 2007

Aer Lingus open their first base outside of the Republic of Ireland at Belfast International Airport.

Dec 2007

22 October 2010

HRH The Queen officially marks the completion of the terminal infrastructure including the new central circulation core.

Oct 2010

6 November 2011

BIA host airport for the MTV European Music Awards.

Nov 2011

15 - 18 June 2013

Belfast International Airport host airport for the G8 conference.

Jun 2013

1 October 2013

US-based ADC & HAS Airports Worldwide completes the acquisition of Belfast International Airport from TBI Limited.

Oct 2013

25 June 2015

Virgin Atlantic make their inaugural flight from Belfast International to Orlando.

Jun 2015

29 August 2018

Belfast International Airport was bought by VINCI Airports.

Aug 2018

March 2020 - May 2021

Global Pandemic occurs due to the spread of COVID-19, causing countries to lockdown and close borders which saw passenger numbers fall dramatically at BFS.

Mar 2020