Belfast Telegraph

Belfast City airport suffers £700k loss after debt restructuring

By John Mulgrew

Belfast City Airport has seen a rise in turnover to £21.2m but suffered pre-tax losses of almost £700,000 for the year due to debt restructuring.

It grew turnover by 1.7% to £21.2m in 2016, according to its latest accounts.

The airport's operating profits stood at £2.74m, compared to £2.91m in 2015.

However, pre-tax profits in the previous year turned into losses of £689,000 due to the "impact of a restructuring of debt in 2015", the airport said.

"Belfast City Airport incurred interest payments of £3.44m in 2016 and losses before tax of £689,000 for the year," it said.

It comes after a deal to take over the airport by international investment fund 3i completed in June.

"It's great news. 3i are a very well respected company, performing very well," airport chief executive Brian Ambrose said.

"It's their first asset in Northern Ireland, their first airport. They are excited about it. We have plans to further expand the business and they have the ability to back us.

"Both operating profits and passenger numbers remained relatively steady in 2016 while turnover marginally increased."

He said passenger numbers were hit by the end of the Aer Lingus route to London Gatwick, due to the airline's takeover by IAG. "However, the carrier remains committed to the City Airport, and actually increased capacity on its flights to Heathrow during the year," Mr Ambrose said.

He said new airlines coming to the airport this year include Icelandair, flying to Reykjavik, while Eastern Airways has added routes to the Isle of Man and Newcastle.

Passenger numbers have been down over the last few months. In July, total numbers fell by 7%, based on the same period a year earlier.

Just over 250,000 passengers passed through the airport in July.

Meanwhile, British Airways is set to cut its weekday flights on the crucial Belfast to Heathrow route by one-third from the end of October.

Belfast Telegraph

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