Anyone been to Belfast? Could you advise on which of the two commercial airports is more suitable for a TB20?
Newtownards, I would have thought.
I could be wildly off, and would be delighted to be corrected if that is the case, but I didn't think Aldergrove or Belfast City were especially welcoming to GA.
City-expensive handling charges. Only go if someone else is paying the bills!
Newtownards. GA airport and nice and friendly but no idea how you'd get to the city from there. It may be simple, but I don't know.
Aldergrove. It's been a few years since I was there, but it was not expensive and seemed to manage GA fine. There is a public bus service to and from the city whch goes by the airport, which cost feck all but took the best part of an hour.
Re Newtownards: I flew there last year and the taxi to the city of Belfast was not too expensive, about 20 pounds for the 20 minute drive.
AFAIK, both City and Aldergrove are almost in the 100 quid region for landing and handling fees...but only Aldergrove has Avgas.
Newtownards is GA, has avgas, VFR only and landing is around £10, further charges can be found on the website of the Ulster Flying Club.
Belfast City you can almost rule out. It is expensive (£200+ I believe) and has no avgas, although if someone is paying for you or you are loaded (and you don't need to refuel there) - it is the most convenient to the city centre and can accept IFR.
Belfast Aldergrove is between the two. They don't mind GA and accepts IFR. Avgas is available and handling can be done by Woodgate Aviation or Eurojet. Woodgates is normally cheaper. I can't recall the prices immediately but give them a call to find out. It shouldn't be too expensive unless you are staying for a long time (more than a few days) and/or you need to be handled out of hours. Bus to City centre for around £10 and will take anywhere between 30 mins to an hour traffic dependant.
Would recommend Newtownards myself as it will be the cheapest. Savings in landing/handling fees will easily pay for a taxi to Belfast city centre which shouldn't be much more than £20/20 mins. If the only thing making you swing away from it is the lack of an instrument approach, it might be useful to note that it is only about 7nm from Belfast City airport and they are normally accommodating to aircraft that want to use their ILS to let down and then proceed VFR to Newtownards.
I'd also recommend Newtownards who offered us a free transfer to the car hire place in town. Fees totalled £50 for the weekend last year, mostly parking. Derry is a viable alternate (remote yes but even cheaper) with all the landing aids but caution its limited opening hours.
Efficient ATC but Aldergrove introduced new costs/security procedures last year making airside access difficult and time consuming (full pat down and an hour delay at a separate security check point whilst they located the explosives detector you pre-hired a 1 hour slot with at £12pp. We didn't actually have any luggage, so they dutifully zapped our mobile phones with it instead). GA apron and the one flying school hut derelict. Total bill for PA28R and me+1 for weekend: £150. Woodgate handling was only 36 of this and they deserved it.
Wonderful - thank you all for this most helpful info. I will go to Newtownards. :-)
kind regards Bob