Belfast International profits jump six-fold with more growth to come

Belfast international will create more jobs as expnaion continues says MD Graham Keddie
Belfast international will create more jobs as expnaion continues says MD Graham Keddie

Belfast International Airport is reporting an almost six-fold increase in operating profit on a turnover that has jumped by almost 12%.

The airport, which has broken the four million passenger mark in the first eight months of this year, is on course for a record year of passenger growth. It expects to achieve 5.76 million passengers by the end of the year and to exceed six million next year.

Turnover went from £31.1m to £34.8m with profit before tax coming in at £611,000.

Capital expenditure at the airport stood at £4.1m in 2016 with a further ongoing programme of investments being rolled out this year with expenditure in 2017 expected to exceed £5m.

“Our team has worked hard to achieve these impressive numbers,” said managing director Graham Keddie.

“Our business is ever-changing, and what we’re seeing is a sustained effort leading to tremendous growth.”

Alongside the creation of 800 jobs, the airport has achieved 26 consecutive months of double-digit passenger growth. Current and planned investment levels in new facilities by companies operating at the airport site are in the region of £13 million.

As an economic and employment success story for Northern Ireland, he said the airport was well set for further growth.

“We will add hundreds more jobs in 2018 with major investments that are in the pipeline. We will also work to add new routes by existing and new airlines. We are offering a real alternative to Dublin which is suffering from a strong euro and we will continue to draw more lucrative business from the Republic of Ireland in 2018.”

The “big ask” he said, remained the ending of Air Passenger Duty (APD) on short-haul flights “to really enhance our competitive edge” and work on approach roads to our airport which are in need of upgrading to make them fit for purpose.