Derry airport in bid to raise passenger numbers to 1.2m a year
Proposals to triple annual passenger numbers at City of Derry Airport to 1.2m by 2030 have been laid out in an ambitious master plan.
The council-owned airport is one of the fastest growing in the UK, handling 400,000 passengers a year.
Airport director Damien Tierney said: “The plan presents a range of future improvements and enhancements to the existing facilities that we wish to develop to meet this vision.
“We hope to increase the number of passengers using the airport from the current number of 400,000 to 1.2m by 2030 by increased routes, different destinations, and not just from the larger airlines.
“It is estimated that every 1m passengers creates around 1,000 jobs either directly or indirectly. At the minute we employ 110 staff directly with an additional 100 people working in catering, bar and restaurant or car hire facility.
“Through these jobs, with the current number of passengers coming through the airport and staying in the area, the airport is generating £14m to the Northern Ireland economy and £7m to the local economy each year.”
Despite the forecast growth in flights, the plan has identified that there is currently no need to build new runways or to extend the existing one. However, there are plans to “maximise existing land within the ownership of the airport for aviation-related use”.
“The type of aircraft using the runway is unlikely to change; at the minute it is 737 jets and unless it was 747s, the runway we have is long enough,” he said.
“This is unrelated to the land the council acquired through compulsory purchase orders in 2003. That land was needed and has already been put to use.”
The draft plan is open for a three-month public consultation.
Derry mayor Kevin Campbell said this is the chance for people to put their mark on the airport.
He said: “I would encourage the public to avail of this opportunity to contribute to the draft masterplan so that it accurately reflects our ambitions for this vital piece of transport infrastructure.
“Once the masterplan is complete it is intended that it will be incorporated as an advisory document within the overall area plan for the city.”
City of Derry Airport is the third largest in Northern Ireland.
It is the only airport in Northern Ireland under public ownership — Derry City Council is the sole proprietor. Most recent passenger figure shows 405,000 people came through the facility in 2011.
Ryanair is the main airline, and City of Derry Airport is the only location in Northern Ireland the low cost airline operates from.