2015 has given us all a lift. 2016 is set to be even better with passenger forecasts setting us on a stellar growth path.
In November, the airport recorded passenger increase of almost 18% - well, 17.64% to be precise – and figures for the first six days of December came in at a whopping 21%.
Long before the start of the Christmas rush, records are tumbling. There’s an additional 300,000 seats available for the winter period, and that will have a direct read across our performance when we come to review how we did in December, and look ahead to 2016.
I’m hugely proud of the all-out effort that’s being made by each and every individual who works here. From check-in, through Central Search and on to our airside food and beverage outlets and retail offering, we’re pulling together to enhance the passenger experience. It’s well done to all involved, and let’s make it more of the same in 2016.
Our growth momentum should see us hit 4.6 million passengers next year, still some way off our record high point of over 5 million before the recession, but nevertheless a source of huge encouragement and satisfaction.
Increasing passenger numbers lead to further investment and new jobs. Take the forecourt and retail project announced for Airport Road. This will produce 35 permanent jobs and thirty during construction. Our own workforce will also increase and so, too, will companies in our supply chain.
Without a penny in public assistance, 2016 will see the equivalent of a small-to-medium enterprise created employing between 50 and 75 people as a direct result of our growth. I should say that my figures are conservative and might easily be eclipsed if one or two significant projects reach fruition.
We’re making progress, and it is impressive. We’ve a wonderful workforce with high satisfaction levels and little or no staff turnover. We’re going places in a business that has the potential to be a much greater economic game-changer for Northern Ireland…..if we had taxation impediments removed and the right incentives put in place to let us get on with the job.
Managing Director, BIA