Belfast Telegraph

Belfast International is now UK's fifth busiest airport

By Staff Reporter

Belfast International is now officially the fifth busiest airport in the UK for domestic passenger traffic.

The announcement comes as the last United Airlines transatlantic flight from Belfast to Newark takes off this morning.

The airline has blamed the "route's poor financial performance" for the route closure, but there was major controversy over a Stormont subsidy paid to United to keep it open.

The £9m rescue deal ended when it appeared that it broke European competition rules.

Despite this, the airport grew by more than 17% last year with over 5.1m passengers through the facility. It's on course to achieve a new record of 5.4m in 2017.

Airport managing director, Graham Keddie, said taking fifth position in the UK domestic league tables was an outstanding result and one that would be consolidated this year.

"This year will be a bumper year for us despite the decision by United to end its popular transatlantic service," he added.

"We continue to do all we can to fill that gap.

"We are working closely with government to deliver a major long-haul project that would open up attractive additional and badly-needed connections."

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