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Belfast International Airport boosted by Ryanair services

Published 04/05/2016

Ryanair services have returned to Belfast International Airport
Ryanair services have returned to Belfast International Airport

Almost 200,000 extra passengers used Belfast International Airport this year following the return of Ryanair to Northern Ireland.

The budget carrier launched its Gatwick route earlier this year. The airport recorded a passenger growth rate of almost 16% for April and the first four months of the year.

Airport chiefs expect to "air lift" 5,000 Northern Ireland fans next month to football's European Championship in France.

Managing director Graham Keddie said: "Our airlines, easyJet, Jet2, Wizz, Ryanair and United put in impressive performances. Charter activity is also picking up and we expect that aspect of the business to make a significant contribution this month.

"Our summer season is set to be the one of the busiest ever. We've got the return of Virgin and, of course, the green and white army exodus next month for Euro 2016.

"We have 13 charters signed up to 'airlift' the fans and, when you add the number of passengers who will use scheduled services to get to match venues, we're gearing up to handle an additional 5,000 or so passengers."

The airport processed almost 400,000 passengers in April, which follows growth of 12% in March.

Last month's total confirms its position as the 11th busiest passenger airport in the UK. It added 195,000 passengers in the first four months of the year.

Mr Keddie added: This level of activity will see the airport easily break the five million-mark this year. Our performance is strong and getting stronger.

"We have new Ryanair routes coming on-stream in the autumn which will drive passenger numbers up by well over one million.

"Looking ahead, 2017 will be a bumper year for us and it's when we will also host the international Routes Europe Conference.

"We are still trying to develop new long-haul services to Canada, in particular, and the Middle East, and that is where the new £4 million Air Development Fund can play a major part."

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