Belfast International Airport is gearing up for what it says will be “a summer like no other summer we’ve ever experienced’”.
The big getaway is well underway, and by the time passenger figures are tallied, the airport is confident of breaking all previous summer records.
Between July 4 and 13, Belfast International expects to see almost 200,000 passengers through its doors – an increase of more than 30,000 or 15% on last year.
The airport is set to re-join the ‘Top Ten’ airports in the UK with double-digit monthly passenger growth. Unconfirmed May and June passenger figures were up 16% and the expectation is that this trend will continue.
Airlines are flying to more holiday destinations than ever this summer and charter operators Thomson, Thomas Cook and Virgin Atlantic are also reporting a surge in numbers.
Passenger traffic on services to Gatwick and other major GB airports are also up substantially.
Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, said: “In reality, the summer rush started last month with the ‘airlift’ of the ‘Green and White Army’ in support of Northern Ireland in Euro 2016 in France.
“Fourteen charters and packed scheduled services bound for mainland Europe saw a phenomenal increase in passenger numbers.
“We’re now entering our busiest holiday period when with more than 100 flights a-day, we will see a non-stop stream of passengers in and out of the Terminal.
“Favourite destinations this year are the usual favourites, Malaga and Alicante.
“We’ve taken on additional part-time staff and service providers such as ICTS and Swissport have boosted staffing levels to cope with the summer rush. This will be a summer like no other we’ve ever experienced. All our airlines – easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, Wizz Air - are doing their bit with additional capacity and our retail and food and bar outlets are reporting record business.
“This summer’s place in the record books will be easily overtaken in 2017 when more than a dozen new destinations on our Display Screens will easily overtake this year’s performance. And with that will come hundreds of more jobs and new business opportunities in the airline and airport supply chains.”