Belfast Telegraph

Belfast International Airport posts rise in profits and passenger numbers

By John Mulgrew

Belfast International Airport has turned around losses to post a pre tax profit of £611,000 as turnover surges to £34.8m.

The airport is on course to hit a record year in terms of passenger numbers, fuelled by the arrival of Ryanair, as well as increased traffic on other airlines such as easyJet.

During the year to the end of December, 2016, passenger numbers rose by 17% from 4.4 million to 5.2 million.

Turnover went from £31.1m to £34.8m with profit before tax coming in at £611,000.

Operating profit was £2.8m — more than five times the figure a year earlier.

The airport says around 800 jobs have been created though the business directly, and indirectly, over the last 18 months.

But managing director, Graham Keddie, says if air passenger duty (APD) was scrapped — a £13 tax on most flights out of Northern Ireland — airlines are queuing up to add the equivalent of a million seats each year.

“Our team has worked hard to achieve these impressive numbers,” he said.

“Our business is ever-changing, and what we’re seeing is a sustained effort leading to tremendous growth.

“Indeed, passenger growth is leading to investment by our providers with food and beverage provider, SSP, showing the way with an investment of £2.5m in its outlets. JD Sport has taken the last unit we have available and we’re currently looking at ways of creating additional retail space airside to accommodate investor demand.

“On top of that, we have seen an additional 800 jobs actually created by our businesses. We’re an economic and employment success story for Northern Ireland, but we’re only at the start of our exciting ‘journey’.

“We will add hundreds more jobs in 2018 with major investments that are in the pipeline. We will also work to add new routes by existing and new airlines.

“We are offering a real alternative to Dublin which is suffering from a strong euro and we will continue to draw more lucrative business from the Republic of Ireland in 2018.”

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