Belfast International Airport has reported its sixth successive month of record passenger figures.
The news coincides with the start of the Ryanair service to the major Catalan city of Girona, which is the airline’s eleventh international route from the main Northern Ireland airport.
In the twenty-eight days of February, it recorded over 400,000 passengers for the first time ever, up 27% on last year’s performance.
The airport’s Managing Director, Graham Keddie, said that even with a short month, the passenger figure was ‘an outstanding achievement’.
Mr Keddie said: “We’re seeing a major upswing in business through the airport. Records are tumbling every month and that’s good for South Antrim and the Northern Ireland economy.
“We remain firmly on track to have a record year of 5.4 million passengers. The summer surge will be like no other ever experienced at the airport.
“In February, we had more than 4,000 arriving and departing aircraft and that will rise steadily in coming months.
“Within the UK, our London Gatwick service is the busiest domestic route, and that’s an amazing achievement for us. More people are flying with easyJet and Ryanair on their twelve daily flights than any other service from Northern Ireland.
“Thousands of people are using our airlines to come and visit Northern Ireland, whether It’s for a weekend or longer stay. There has never been a better time to market Northern Ireland within the UK.
“We have the big plus of a common currency. There’s no euro-pound disadvantage so, in fact, visitors from GB have a much better deal than if they fly into the Republic of Ireland.
“Our airlines are adding significant capacity to meet demand. More will follow.
“Trade figures for our retail and food and beverage outlets are at record levels, and that will continue. All of our units are let and we are creating three additional outlets to meet passenger expectations.”