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Aspire to expand its lounge at Belfast City Airport

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Aspire Airport Lounges has announced a £1.2 million investment in the expansion of its lounge at Belfast City Airport.

Capacity will rise from around 100 people to 178 after the work is completed. It will be done in phases to ensure that the lounge will remain open at all times. The entire lounge will be refurbished with the work expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Aspire Belfast City seating

Now …. the history of the Aspire lounge at Belfast City is a little complex. Pre-covid, Aspire and British Airways had adjacent lounges at the airport. When British Airways withdrew, Aspire took over the BA space and closed its existing lounge.

It is possible, although I can’t be sure, that Aspire is simply taking back the space that is used to operate, and so giving back the airport the same amount of lounge capacity that it had pre-pandemic.

The photo below is from our 2022 review of the Aspire lounge (ex BA lounge) at Belfast City Airport.

We will find out later in the year ….


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The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

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PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (23)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Richie says:

    Will BA bring back Gatwick to FLL to compete with Norse?

    • Andrew. says:

      The Brightline service is due to start operating from MCO in the second quarter of 2023. Whilst it doesn’t stop in FLL (despite going underneath the runway), it does stop at downtown Fort Lauderdale.

      It changes the dynamic considerably. If you start a price war with Norse on LGW-FLL, the savvy BA passenger will recognise that they can simply get a cheaper BA flight to FLL and hop on the train to Downtown Miami (40 minutes) or MCO (2h45m) instead of taking the direct BA flights.

      • flyforfun says:

        What’s the train like? I took the bus from South Beach to the airport once 25 years ago and it was something even my adventurous self wouldn’t want to repeat. Something to do with the bus making unscheduled stops to pick up and drop off a passenger once we left the city district and in the suburbs. I’ve since taken buses and the subway in Rio at night, but I’m not too keen on doing that bus trip again.

      • Richie says:

        Thanks Andrew, will have to look at Brightline.

      • Sunguy says:

        MCO terminal C is a complete and total disgusting mess – its not ready for pax yet … but it is open and its awful … stay away for the best part of the next 2 years!

    • Dubious says:

      When is it competing and when is it anti-competitive?

      If BA only start up services to make the competitor unviable, and then pack up and leave once the competitor has left, surely that’s bad behavior?

      • Dubious says:

        *Behaviour (auto-incorrect is now disrespecting my language)

      • Rob says:

        That’s what BA did against Norwegian with FLL and Oakland. It doesn’t necessarily have enough spare aircraft to play those sort of games at the moment though.

        • jjoohhnn says:

          Maybe they could remove an Air Europa route where there is IAG overlap and wet lease that capacity to FLL!

    • Chris W says:

      Surely BA can make more money from Gatwick flying to a Carribean destination with no competition than competing against an LCC to FLL?

      • jjoohhnn says:

        If you look on a single route basis, yeah. But if you look in the broader perspective of stifling a competitor airline, that if you do nothing will likely grow to more and more routes and then start to take revenue from you off of those, there is a strategic value to competing to try and limit the growth.

        • Richie says:

          Perhaps BA might wait until JetBlue shows up on FLL-LGW with their A321XLR service.

  • memesweeper says:

    It is possible, although I can’t be sure, that Aspire is simply taking back the space that is used to operate, and so giving back the airport the same amount of lounge capacity that it had pre-pandemic.

    — that must be what’s happening. They will knock through the wall, merge the kitchens etc — nothing else makes sense given the layout of departures, unless you start trying to move shops and toilets around.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      Nope. They already use that space when needed the work done to expand into that area was completed at least a year ago. If it’s not busy that area is still closed off

      • Rob says:

        The area they are taking over is currently totally empty, stripped back to its concrete floor – I’ve seen photos. It has windows overlooking the cranes so it must be at one end of the existing lounge.

        • Michael says:

          That must be the old Aspire Lounge space stripped back. There are no other areas with views of the Harbour cranes unless they have added a secret terminal extension! The relative sizes of the lounge areas and proposed capacities match also.

          They have the ability to open some doors into that space currently but I suspect that with £1.2n they are merging the kitchens and refurbing the bathrooms and maybe incorporating the old corridor area into the lounge.

          Hopefully they up the quality a bit. For all the complaints re Baxter Storey, the current offering falls well short of that!

  • SGJNI says:

    The Belfast lounge has been awful since BA left, simply making it bigger won’t address all the issues, except perhaps overcrowding. The whole experience has been downgraded and the only good feature remaining is the only one they can’t do much to, direct boarding from the lounge.

    • Simon Miller says:

      Agree 100%! The food is atrocious, the coffee produced by the Nescafe coffee machine is grim and having to pour Pepsi Max from a 2l bottle doesn’t exactly scream premium lounge experience. It is really, really poor.

    • Niall says:

      Agree. I really wish they’d use the £1.2m to clean the existing space and offer at least average food and drinks. I’m sure they’d have some change too.

    • Michael says:

      Direct boarding not always guaranteed anymore!

      Lots of BA arrivals onto gate 7 recently meaning gate 7 departures (I.e. no jetty). Crew were mentioning such also. Obviously BACF services don’t get direct jetty boarding from lounge either and the departures corridor is currently a mess of tensa barriers with very little enforcement of priority boarding….

  • Kevin says:

    The Aspire lounge at BHD is an embarrassment. Probably the worst lounge in the country – UK or Ireland!

  • E4 Traveller says:

    I use the Aspire at BHD quite regularly. The food offerings are pathetic, with the lowest quality possible of products, e.g. sausages and bread. No healthy food options, no sandwiches at any time of the day. Coffee tastes awful, although the coffee machine seems to be broken a lot.

    In December, it was announced over the loudspeaker that the lounge was closing at 6.30 due to “staff illness”. I was travelling on a Business Class ticket to LHR at my own expense and wasn’t pleased about being turfed out of the lounge a full hour before my delayed flight. I politely informed what looked like a supervisor of my unhappiness and got a rather combative response. But then I wasn’t actually her customer because BA was her customer and couldn’t have cared less. So she could say what she liked. Plus, Aspire now has the only lounge there so why bother to improve the customer experience?

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