Belfast International Airport has had its busiest September ever with record numbers of passengers using the facility.
A total of 488,680 passengers passed through Northern Ireland’s main airport, which exceeded by 7,800 the previous September record set in 2007. The figure is up 73,000, or 17.5%, over September last year.
The figure brings to 3.8 million the total number of passengers in the first nine months of the year.
The remaining three months of the year are set to see further impressive growth as new routes and increased airline capacity make an impact.
Ryanair will launch Krakow, Wroclaw, Lanzarote and Tenerife at the end of October, followed by Warsaw and Gdansk on the 2nd November. easyJet, which operates twenty-eight routes and carries 3.5 million passengers, last week announced a record number of flights and routes from Belfast International for Spring 2017.
Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, says the September figures augur well for the rest of the year and into 2017.
Mr Keddie said: “All of our airlines are putting in stellar performances. We have the Halloween break and then the Christmas rush to look forward to, and this year we could see other records tumble.
“All of this growth is without any Government support, and all the additional 800 or so jobs created since last December are privately funded.
“We ran our second Job Fair last week, and several hundred people turn up to hear what was on offer. There are more than 100 new jobs are being created across the board, and we believe that 2017 will see further employment opportunities as the airport and its airlines expand further.
“We’ve been saying it for some time, but if the Government and our devolved administration removed the deadweight that is Air Passenger Duty (APD), then many hundreds more jobs would be created. As well as that, we know that existing airlines would rush to open new routes to important tourism markets and that, in turn, would produce greater prosperity for Northern Ireland.
“Getting rid of APD is a no-brainer. It is not exaggerating it to say that if APD disappeared, we could almost double passenger numbers and add dozens of new routes. That, in turn, would lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs at what would be a vibrant employment and enterprise hub."