Belfast International passenger numbers soar by 95,000
Belfast International Airport passenger numbers increased by more than one-third at the start of 2017, based on the same period a year earlier. The total number of passengers through the airport in January was 380,000. It says that was up by 95,000 on the same month in 2016.
The airport says it is on track to achieve a new passenger record for the year of more than 5.4 million people using the hub.
The airport's managing director, Graham Keddie, said: "This is the ideal start for the airport. Figures are impressive and we expect that trend to be maintained.
"Outbound business is important, but we also expect to see many more tourists during the year. There is greater connectivity to European destinations and with proper tourism promotion in the likes of Berlin and Milan, there's no reason why we shouldn't see more visitors from these lucrative markets.
"2017 is going to be our busiest year ever. That level of business is already leading to new employment opportunities with our on-site businesses, which will further underline the importance of the airport to the Northern Ireland economy."
While passenger numbers are on the rise, the airport has been seeking an airline to fill the gap left behind after United pulled its connection with New York.
Now, Norwegian Air is expected to announce a new direct flight from Belfast to the US in the coming weeks.
The carrier could reveal several new routes from Ireland to US destinations such as Boston and New York, reports say.