Belfast In­ter­na­tional boosted as its pas­sen­ger numbers soar by 95,000

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY JOHN MUL­GREW

BELFAST In­ter­na­tional Air­port pas­sen­ger numbers in­creased by more than one-third at the start of 2017, based on the same pe­riod a year ear­lier.

The to­tal num­ber of pas­sen­gers through the air­port in Jan­uary was 380,000. It says that was up by 95,000 on the same month in 2016.

The air­port says it is on track to achieve a new pas­sen­ger record for the year of more than 5.4 mil­lion peo­ple us­ing the hub.

The air­port’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Gra­ham Ked­die, said: “This is the ideal start for the air­port. Fig­ures are im­pres­sive and we ex­pect that trend to be main­tained.

“Out­bound busi­ness is im­por­tant, but we also ex­pect to see many more tourists dur­ing the year. There is greater con­nec­tiv­ity to Euro­pean des­ti­na­tions and with proper tourism pro­mo­tion in the likes of Ber­lin and Mi- lan, there’s no rea­son why we shouldn’t see more vis­i­tors from these lu­cra­tive mar­kets.

“2017 is go­ing to be our busiest year ever. That level of busi­ness is al­ready lead­ing to new em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties with our on­site busi­nesses, which will fur­ther un­der­line the im­por­tance of the air­port to the North­ern Ire­land econ­omy.”

While pas­sen­ger numbers are on the rise, the air­port has been seek­ing an air­line to fill the gap left be­hind af­ter United pulled its con­nec­tion with New York.

Now, Nor­we­gian Air is ex­pected to an­nounce a new di­rect flight from Belfast to the US in the com­ing weeks.

The car­rier could re­veal sev­eral new routes from Ire­land to US des­ti­na­tions such as Bos­ton and New York, re­ports say.

Busi­ness growth: Gra­ham Ked­die

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