Belfast International Airport has notched up an important bit of Northern Ireland aviation history this week.
For the first time in its fifty-three years as a commercial airport, the airport saw the launch of six new routes by one airline, Ryanair, within a four-day period.
All six had impressive passenger loads when they took to the skies from the airline’s new Northern Ireland hub.
Krakow headed the list on Sunday, followed by Wroclaw, Lanzarote and Tenerife on Monday and then Warsaw and Gdansk on Wednesday. On top of that, Ryanair added a fifth daily return to Gatwick, bringing to twelve the total number of Ryanair and easyJet flights to what is Northern Ireland’s principal London airport.
Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, said: “In partnership with our airlines, we’re delivering growth, business opportunities and jobs. We’re also making inroads in the tourism arena, promoting Northern Ireland as a must-visit destination in markets that offer enormous potential.
“Activity levels over November and December will be at an all-time high with passenger numbers peaking over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. We’re preparing for the influx and then the numbers who will be returning after visiting their loved ones.
“Six routes in four days is a small but not insignificant bit of aviation history for the airport and Northern Ireland. Expansion of services by easyJet and Jet2 are also powering our growth, and that will help us set a new passenger record next year.
“Of course, growth could be so much more if Ministers campaigned to get the power over Air Passenger Duty (APD). This lazy tax penalises passengers, the airport, Northern Ireland tourism and hands the advantage to the Republic of Ireland. For some inexplicable reason, this sector is overlooked when it comes to the positive impact it has on the local economy. It’s time to put our sector front and centre and recognise what its capable of delivering for Northern Ireland.”