Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, has said the latest passenger growth figures should serve as a call to action by the local administration.
In September, the overall figure was up almost 12% with passenger numbers on domestic services recording the most impressive growth of over 15%. International passenger numbers were up a little more than 10% on September last year.
All three London routes – Gatwick, Stansted and London Luton – along with Glasgow and Edinburgh were the strongest performers. Internationally, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Malaga, Alicante and Verona topped the list. Most international services operated at 90%-plus load factors.
Mr Keddie said: “There is real strength in both the inbound and outbound markets. Even with the disadvantage of Air Passenger Duty (APD), the International Airport is on a growth trajectory and we expect that to continue during coming months.
“There is immense untapped potential in this sector. More than anything else, these figures should serve as a call to action to Northern Ireland Ministers and the Government.
“We are determined to expand the route network and attract new airlines, but there has to be meaningful support and a long overdue acknowledgement that this is a sector that is capable of creating thousands of new jobs.
“We have to work with one voice if we are to get the most from the aviation sector. Other countries have fully recognised the importance of the sector to their economies and it’s time we, too, did the same.”