Belfast Telegraph

City Airport enjoys rise in Europe flights but fall in domestic routes

By John Mulgrew

The number of people flying through Belfast City Airport to European destinations has reached a record high, but its domestic routes have taken a hit.

The airport has broken its annual international passenger record almost four months before the end of the year, with 200,000 using the hub.

However, across the board, the airport's numbers have remained flat year-on-year. That means domestic passenger numbers have actually fallen.

Between January and September this year, some 1.878m passengers used the airport.

That was up slightly by 0.15% on the same period 12 months earlier, when 1.875m people passed through.

The end of August saw the airport beat the previous annual high of 171,270 for international passengers, which was set last year, with the figure having already climbed to 200,977.

At this stage in September last year, 128,709 passengers had arrived and departed via the airport's international routes.

Katy Best, commercial and marketing manager at the airport, said: "To reach the milestone of over 200,000 international passengers almost four months before the end of the year is fantastic news for the airport and for the city of Belfast.

"It provides a major boost for Northern Ireland tourism (and)the record passenger figures reflect our plans to significantly grow our European route network and are further evidence of the public's demand for flights to key European destinations from an airport that is so close to Belfast city centre.

"We have received fantastic feedback on our new routes to Brussels and Amsterdam with our partners Brussels Airlines and KLM - both of whom have enjoyed growth in seat sales."

The airport said that more than 150,000 passengers used its sun routes in 2016, including flights to Alicante, Malaga, Faro and Palma.

It added that its Belfast to Amsterdam route carried more than 55,000 passengers since it began back in May last year.

Meanwhile, rival Belfast International Airport has had its busiest ever August.

The month replaced July as the busiest month for the first time in its history, fuelled by new Ryanair routes and low-cost flights.

Approximately 534,000 people passed through the airport during August.

Belfast Telegraph