Belfast Telegraph

Belfast City Airport sees profit climb 5.9% to £2.9m

By Margaret Canning

Belfast City Airport's operating profit grew by 5.9% to £2.9m during 2017 as a new owner took charge of the asset, according to its latest accounts.

Turnover in 2017 was £21.25m, up from £21.15m the year before, while the airport, which has 68 direct employees, handled 2.55 million passengers.

Earlier this year the airport announced a new Loganair service to the Lake District, while its biggest operator Flybe has started flying to Doncaster Sheffield.

Aer Lingus, British Airways and KLM also fly from the airport, which was bought over by investment fund 3i in June last year as part of a £700m deal along with other infrastructure assets.

Former owners Eiser Global Infrastructure Fund, based in London, had bought it for £132.5m in 2008.

Airport chief executive Brian Ambrose said: "2017 was another good trading year for Belfast City Airport, which was marked by the purchase of the asset by a fund managed by 3i in June - 3i has continued its strategic investment.

"At present, the airport is undergoing a signficant terminal refurbishment programme, which will be completed by October and include a significantly enhanced departures area and upgrade to security search facilities.

"We continue to partner with blue-chip airlines such as British Airways, Aer Lingus, KLM and Flybe in offering passengers near-blanket coverage of UK destinations and we aim to widen our European portfolio on key routes."

Revenues at the airport have been increasingly steadily, and are up from £20.8m in 2015. And operating profits at £2.9m are back to 2015 levels. In 2016, there had been a 6% fall to £2.74m.

Figures for 2016 had been affected by the cessation of Aer Lingus' route to London Gatwick.

While the airport has 68 direct employees, around 1,000 are employed on the site by third parties and outsourcing firms.

Passenger numbers of 2.55 million from 2017 mean it has around half the traffic of Belfast International Airport.

That asset was sold to international operator Vinci Airports in what is thought to be a multi-billion pound deal earlier this year.

Former owner, infrastructure investment manager OMERS, sold its interests in Airports Worldwide, which included Belfast International Airport.

Belfast International Airport had 5.8 million passengers in 2017.

Belfast Telegraph

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