Record-breaking airport sets sights on 6 million-plus passengers

5 Jan 2018

Belfast International Airport says an average of 16,000 passengers passed through Northern Ireland’s principal airport every day last year, delivering a record performance of 5.844 million.

Belfast International Airport says an average of 16,000 passengers passed through Northern Ireland’s principal airport every day last year, delivering a record performance of 5.844 million.

The busiest day in the 65-year history of the airport was the 11th July with just under 24,000 passengers, followed by Friday, 22nd December, at the height of the Christmas rush, when more than 20,000 were recorded.

The 5.844 million passenger figure is up almost 700,000 on the 2016 tally, or just under 13.5%.

An even more ambitious target is set for 2018 when the airport expects to deal with more than 6 million passengers.

Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, says the 2017 performance was heartening, and that exceeding the 6 million-mark this year is a realistic objective.

Mr Keddie said: “All the signs from our airlines are positive. There’s hundreds of thousands of additional seats on offer to our seventy-six destinations, which makes Belfast International a more attractive proposition.

“We’re also predicting the best year ever for direct in-bound tourism. The more visitors we can attract directly to Northern Ireland, without a stop either in the Republic of Ireland or in GB, the better for Northern Ireland.

“The pound-euro exchange rate remains favourable, and that means we will continue to see a most welcome increase in the number of passengers from the Republic of Ireland.

“Similarly, no loss on the exchange rate means there’s better value for holiday-makers from the UK mainland opting for Northern Ireland rather than the Republic of Ireland.

“We’ll be investing more in 2018 – some £8.8 million – in several capital expenditure programmes, which is obviously good news for local contractors and their supply chain. In line with passenger growth, companies based at the airport will be creating up to 250 new posts, which is great news for the immediate local economy.

“2018 will be hectic. And, of course, we will continue the campaign to rid ourselves of Air Passenger Duty (APD). I am asking Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, along with neighbouring councils, to weigh in with strong Submissions in response to the Government’s Consultation on APD which is about to get underway.

“I’m grateful for the support we’ve already received in this fight, but I think now’s the time to up our game to let Government see that there’s broad-based support for action to be taken to end APD, which places Northern Ireland at a clear disadvantage to our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland.”


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