City of Derry airport to press for funding amid falling passenger numbers
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According to the Civil Aviation Authority, the number of terminal passenger traffic at the Eglinton-based airport over the last decade has dropped by over half.
Figures for 2022 show that 163,379 people travelled through the airport, compared to 398,209 in 2012, a staggering 234,830 less passengers just 10 years ago.
So far in 2023, passenger numbers are also down every month since May.
This includes June, July and August which are, traditionally, peak times for air travel.
In 2013, 384,973 passengers passed through the airport but the last time passenger numbers exceeded 300,000 was in 2014.
Only 204,000 people flew in 2019. That was the year before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw low passenger numbers across all airports.
City of Derry Airport is owned by Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) and costs ratepayers £3.45m to help with operational costs, which is five per cent of the council's entire annual budget.
The airport operates twice daily return flights to Heathrow and also has flights to Manchester, Glasgow and up until recently Liverpool.
Loganair's Liverpool route stopped at the end of October.
Concerns over the funding for the airport were raised during this month's meeting of DCSDC's Governance and Strategic Planning Committee.
Members heard that the airport board and the council are to write joint letters to the British and Irish governments and Stormont outlining their concerns.
BBC News NI understands that councillors will attempt to lobby ministers in London, Dublin and civil servants in Belfast for yet more financial support.
A council spokesperson said it and airport officials had been engaging with the UK and Irish Governments to secure the funding needed for the continued sustainability and growth of the airport.