Nine year high in passenger numbers at Belfast International Airport

Belfast International Airport.

Belfast International Airport.

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Belfast International Airport has said that summer 2015 may have been dismal but for Northern Ireland’s main airport, it turned out to be a ‘sizzler’

The bounce back from the dark days of recession reached a nine-year high with a surge in passenger numbers and business activity.

On the passenger side, June, July and August showed impressive growth, peaking in August with numbers up 11.1% on the corresponding month last year. On the domestic side alone, there were 24,000 additional passengers – easyJet’s London destinations accounted for more than half that figure. Jet2 also enjoyed impressive growth with newcomer, Wizz air, carrying 6,000 passengers on its two routes.

On the car parks and retail side, performance galloped into double figures. A concerted effort to market and promote competitively priced airside retail and food and drink outlets paid off handsomely.

Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, described the growth as ‘hugely impressive’ with more of the same on the way.

Mr Keddie said: “Weather-wise, summer ’15 was one to forget but for the airport, it turned out to be a ‘sizzler’ with thousands of additional passengers using our facility and our expanding network of destinations.

“We will work tirelessly to build on that international network and also do all we can to attract new airlines to the airport. We continue to make the case for Northern Ireland at major route conferences and in one-to-one discussions with airlines.

“We have destination gaps, and expanding our reach and creating greater choice for passengers is my top priority.”

Airport Commercial Development Director, Brian Carlin, described the season as ‘a tremendous result for the team’ and a clear sign that consumer confidence was returning.

Mr Carlin said: “Summer ’15 has been a turning point for us. Some outlets enjoyed year-on-year growth in excess of 15% while car parking, particularly ’Park & Fly’, contributed massively to the overall performance which was up 25% on the same period last year.”