Belfast International Airport has recorded a passenger growth rate of almost 16% for April and the first four months of the year.
The provisional figure for April traffic includes the first month of operation of Ryanair on the Gatwick route.
The airport handled almost 400,000 passengers in April, and follows a March performance when growth of 12% was achieved.
In passenger number terms, the April total confirms the airport’s position as the eleventh busiest airport in the UK. It added 195,000 passengers in the first four months of 2016, bringing the running total to 1.38 million.
Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, described the performance as ‘strong and getting stronger’.
Mr Keddie said: “Our airlines, easyJet, Jet2, Wizz, Ryanair and United put in impressive performances. Charter activity is also picking up and we expect that aspect of the business to make a significant contribution this month.
“Our summer season is set to be the one of the busiest ever. We’ve got the return of Virgin and, of course, the ‘green and white army’ exodus next month for Euro 2016. We have thirteen charters signed up to ‘airlift’ the fans and, when you add the number of passengers who will use scheduled services to get to match venues, we’re gearing up to handle an additional 5,000 or so passengers.
“This level of activity will see the airport easily break the five million-mark this year. Our performance is strong and getting stronger. We have new Ryanair routes coming on-stream in the autumn which will drive passenger numbers up by well over one million.
“Looking ahead, 2017 will be a bumper year for us and it’s when we will also host the international Routes Europe Conference. We’re still trying to develop new long-haul services to Canada, in particular, and the Middle East, and that is where the new £4 million Air Development Fund can play a major part.”