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Sat, May 26, 2007

Safety Concerns Close UK Airport

Poor Runway Drainage, Bird Control Top List

The Civil Aviation Authority, the UK's aviation regulator, decided to provisionally suspend the City of Derry's license Thursday as the result of safety concerns that developed during an inspection this week.

A few of the issues inspectors found include lack of an effective bird control plan, unsuitable temporary repairs to an aircraft parking area and poor runway drainage.

The airport's management said they were "100% committed to maintaining the highest safety standards. While this is an exceptional step by the CAA, the airport is confident that a position can be reached to ensure it is operational as soon as possible."

"The public will be advised immediately of any update and it is understood airlines will provide further updates on Friday," the company said and advised travelers to contact individual airlines about flight cancellations and diversions.

The airport closed at midnight Thursday.

British Airways and Ryanair are the two airlines that service the airport. So far, Ryanair has cancelled all Friday's flights to and from the airport.

British Airways rescheduled their flights to Belfast International Airport, more than 60 miles away, according to the BBC.

The airport said the CAA is "reassured by the commitment shown by Derry City Council to develop and implement a credible plan to ensure the safety of operations at City of Derry Airport. A list of actions has been agreed which the airport will progress over the next few days."

FMI: www.cityofderryairport.com, www.caa.co.uk

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