Belfast International is now officially the fifth busiest airport in the United Kingdom for domestic passenger traffic.
The airport’s status was confirmed by the Civil Aviation Authority in its report on airport and passenger activity during 2016.
In the league table of 47 UK airports, the four airports ahead of Belfast International Airport are Heathrow, Gatwick, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Overall, the airport grew by more than 17% last year with over 5.1 million passengers through the facility. It’s on course to achieve a new record of 5.4 million in 2017.
Belfast Managing Director, Graham Keddie, said taking fifth position was an outstanding result and one that would be consolidated this year.
Mr Keddie said: “Passengers are voting with their wallets. They want value for money and frequent services at the best times of the day.
“Small to medium businesses are doing more business in GB and we’re able to get them to their target markets at hugely competitive rates with easyJet and Ryanair.
“The benefits are appreciable, which is one reason why Belfast International is enjoying such growth.
“We could do much more with the right supports. Air Passenger Duty is a considerable disadvantage not only to our airports, but to Northern Ireland as a region. If it disappeared, we could transform inbound tourism, leading to further significant investment along with the creation of thousands of jobs. Getting rid of this impediment is, in my view, a no-brainer.
“This year will be a bumper year for us despite the decision by United to end its popular trans-Atlantic service.
“We continue to do all with 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.”