Profits soar at Belfast International Airport with prospect of 'hundreds' of new jobs in 2018

Belfast International Airport has reported a six-fold take-off in profits, with 'hundreds' of new jobs set to be created next year
Gareth McKeown

BELFAST International Airport has reported a six-fold take-off in profits as passenger numbers continue to soar.

The latest accounts published by the airport reveal operating profit of £2.9 million for the year ending December 31, a significant jump on the previous year's figure of £510,000.

Turnover also increased by almost 12 per cent from £31.1 million to £34.8 million, with profit before tax coming in at £611,000.

Capital expenditure at the airport stood at £4.1 million in 2016 with a further ongoing programme of investments being rolled out this year and expected to exceed £5 million. Meanwhile current and planned investment levels in new facilities by companies operating at the airport site are in the region of £13 million.

In terms of passenger numbers the airport has broken the four million mark in the first eight months of 2017 and is on course for a record year of passenger growth.

To date it has achieved 26 consecutive months of double-digit passenger growth and expects to achieve 5.76 million passengers by the end of the year, rising to six million in 2018.

Belfast International Airport managing director Graham Keddie described the latest financial results as a "superb effort" and outlined ambitious plans for future growth.

“Our team has worked hard to achieve these impressive numbers. Our business is ever-changing, and what we're seeing is a sustained effort leading to tremendous growth," he said.

“Indeed, passenger growth is leading to investment by our providers with food and beverage provider, SSP, showing the way with an investment of £2.5 million in its outlets. JD Sport has taken the last unit we have available and we're currently looking at ways of creating additional retail space airside to accommodate investor demand.

“On top of that, we have seen an additional 800 jobs actually created by our businesses. We're an economic and employment success story for Northern Ireland, but we're only at the start of our exciting journey."

Looking ahead the airport hopes to add "hundreds" more jobs in 2018 with major investments in the pipeline. They also plan to add new routes from 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."

“Things are looking good, and this superb effort will be maintained next year as we continue on our growth trajectory," Mr Keddie added.

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