Belfast airport to send record numbers off into the sun
Saturday will be the busiest single day at Belfast International Airport in five years with 21,000 passengers expected to pass through the terminal, the airport said.
This comes on the back of the airport seeing an 8% rise in passengers last month on the same period last year.
And it comes as easyJet has flown five million passengers between the airport and London Stansted, passing the landmark figure on July 5.
Numbers were up in June, as the airport predicted it will handle more than 152,000 passengers over the next week amid the summer holiday rush.
It's attributed the strong performance to increases on all UK domestic routes and international flights to locations such as Alicante, Barcelona, Faro and Palma.
This is in addition to new routes to Rome, Prague, Gran Canaria and Reykjavik.
Uel Hoey, Belfast International Airport business development director, said the airport expects a very good year.
"The numbers we are seeing so far will make summer 2015 an exceptionally strong summer season. Monthly growth of 8% reflects the range of destinations we serve and the competitively-priced products offered by our airlines," he said.
Mr Hoey added the airport is expecting to see a record number of tourists visiting the province this year.
"We're ready for the summer rush and, of course, we're also prepared to welcome record numbers of visitors to Northern Ireland especially from our biggest and most important tourist market in Great Britain," he said.
EasyJet launched the route between Belfast International Airport and Stansted in 1998, and has now flown 42m flyers to and from Belfast since its first flight between to London Luton.
EasyJet accounts for 52% of all air passenger journeys in and out of Northern Ireland and is adding another 180,000 seats this winter.
Ali Gayward, UK commercial manager for easyJet, said: "I am really excited that today we have flown our five millionth passenger between Belfast and Stansted.
"We have come a long way since the launch of our first flight 16 years ago between Belfast and Luton and since then Belfast has been a key market for easyJet."
Graham Keddie, Belfast International Airport managing director, said: "This milestone of the five millionth passenger to Stansted shows the commitment that easyJet has shown to the Northern Ireland market over the last 17 years. Here's to the next five million passengers on the Stansted route."