Airport transfer firm invests £1m in new coach hub
An airport transfer firm in Londonderry has invested £1m in a new purpose-built facility to cater to growing demand from customers.
Airporter, which was founded in 1996 and originally had two staff members, has boosted its operations over the years, bringing its workforce to 30 and growing its fleet to 21 vehicles.
It carries 155,000 people to and from Belfast International and Belfast City airports annually. And after two years work, the company has opened a new 14,000 sq ft hub which will accommodate further numbers.
Jennifer McKeever, director of Airporter, said: "The projected growth in visitors to Derry and ambitious plans for a north west city deal amongst other things means that we envisage not only more visitors, but also more people travelling to and from the city region for work and study."
The hub is located on the former home of the old Lough Swilly Bus Company in Springtown Industrial Estate.
It will allow the firm to carry out on-site servicing, fuelling and "bespoke bus washing" as well as driver training.
Ms McKeever added: "We now have a purpose-built facility fitted out to provide our team with a working environment which reflects the volume of business we do. This shows that as a company we're always looking towards the future, we're always looking to do better.
"The investment in the site will allow Airporter to deal with anticipated future growth in demand but also represents a considerable investment in human resources from a company that already puts a strong emphasis on employee training.
"It's also entirely necessary because demand keeps growing and that's only going to continue.
"Last year was a record year for tourism in Northern Ireland and more and more people are coming to explore the north west."
And, although Ms McKeever expressed concerns over infrastructure funding after Brexit which could limit growth, she added: "The recent work that has started on the A6 will only make it easier for people to travel to and from the north west and the two main airports in Belfast.
"We expect that more and more people will use the service as the travel time will reduce even further once complete."
The hub is the second major investment the company has made recently. It follows on from its digital technology investment that allows its passengers to book tickets 24 hours a day.