Airporter reaches 1.5m passenger marks - helped by 'The Derry Girls'
DERRY transport company Airporter has passed a major milestone by serving more than 1.5 million passengers since it first opened - it is has attributed part of its recent successes to the "Derry Girls" phenomenon.
The company, which provides a direct service from Derry to both Belfast airports, confirmed it reached the incredible milestone over Easter, and it means it has provided almost 100,000 journeys.
And company founder and director Jennifer McKeever admits: “More people than ever are visiting our city, and the Derry Girls phenomenon has been a great boost, with screen tourism starting to bring in new visitors from new markets."
Opening in 1996 with just two drivers and around 5,000 customers a year, it now serves 155,000 customers annually and the number of employees has trebled in the last four years. Airporter employs more than 30 drivers and operates a fleet of 21 vehicles.
The demand for its services has increased sharply in recent years, driven by increased tourism and commuters travelling to and from the north west for work.
This steep increase saw the company invest £1million in a new, purpose-built facility and hub in October. At the same time it moved its passenger pick-up point to the city centre in a strategic partnership with Foyleside shopping centre.
The company has also invested heavily in digital technology which allows passengers to book tickets round the clock, and virtually all of its bookings are now online.
Ms McKeever added: “Reaching this customer milestone is an incredible achievement and something we’re incredibly proud of. It is testament to the hard work, professionalism and excellent customer service from our staff that Airporter has become first choice for so many people travelling to and from the north west.
“We’re popular among students studying in England, Scotland or Wales and who want a quick and easy way to get themselves home over the holidays. We've also seen a huge increase in the percentage of passengers who travel for work and business.
“Increased connectivity at out airports is great for the whole region, because when companies are looking to invest in a location, one of the first things they look for is how well connected it is to the rest of the world. Our service means that people can live in Derry and work in Manchester, London or beyond."