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'Ill judged': People are criticising Belfast Airport's 'Brexit' advertisement campaign

The airport yesterday launched its Vote to Leave campaign, which is directed towards people living in the six border counties of the Republic of Ireland.

File photo of the entrance to Belfast International Airport in 2012.
File photo of the entrance to Belfast International Airport in 2012.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Archive/PA Images

BELFAST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT has come in for some criticism online for its new advertisement campaign, which aims to capitalise on Brexit to secure more passengers from the Republic.

The airport yesterday launched its Vote to Leave campaign, which is directed towards people living in the six border counties of the Republic of Ireland.

The campaign’s purpose is to convince people in the border counties to fly from Belfast rather than the larger Dublin Airport.

The Euro being stronger against the Pound and a closer distance to Belfast rather than Dublin are put forward as reasons for flying from the airport.

However, the campaign tagline “Vote to Leave” and its message to “choose Bexit” has irked a number of people.

Brexit is seen as a contentious topic across the UK and Ireland, especially in the border counties which face uncertainty around the possibility of a hard border and what it could mean for people’s livelihoods.

People took issue with the timing and wording of the advertisement. Others questioned why the airport would use a Brexit emssage

“Why a Brexit message in a market that perceives it negatively?” one user wrote on Twitter.

Political commentator Patricia Mac Bride said:

Hey @BelfastAirport you realise this is not a clever play on words, right? Your airport code is BFS not BE and majority here voted remain.

In recent years, Belfast International Airport has faced increasing pressure from its bigger counterpart in Dublin.

Dublin Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the world. It revealed last year that 1.2 million passengers from Northern Ireland passed through in 2015, a 37% increase on the previous year.

Belfast Airport’s ad campaign will run throughout June and July. A spokesperson for the airport said that the purpose of the campaign had been to make an impact.

“We wanted to make an impact with our next marketing campaign…and we have certainly done that,” they said.

Read: Shane Ross wants ‘to take on monopolies’ with independent third terminal at Dublin Airport

Read: ‘We can’t keep our head in the sand’: Only 3 armed gardaí covering Dublin Airport

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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