Lon­don­derry air­port trans­fer firm in­vests £1m in new coach hub

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY EMMA DEIGHAN

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.

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