Passenger numbers double and losses are halved as City Airport continues pandemic recovery

Belfast City Airport continues its recovery from the pandemic
Belfast City Airport continues its recovery from the pandemic Belfast City Airport continues its recovery from the pandemic

BELFAST City Airport's continued recovery from the Covid pandemic has been highlighted in its 2022 accounts published at Companies House.

Passenger numbers more than doubled last year to 1,655,000 - up from 812,000 in 2021 - as people gradually got back travelling after the previous year's lockdowns.

Turnover almost doubled too, rising to £18,705,000 from £9,485,000 the year before.

And although the airport still remains some way off profit-making again, its operating loss for the year more than halved from £4,377,000 to £1,904,000.

George Best Belfast City Airport is owned by pension funds managed by 3i, and its airline partners Aer Lingus Regional, British Airways, easyJet, KLM, Loganair, and Lufthansa serve close to 30 domestic and European destinations.

One of Belfast City's big recent success stories has been the growth of easyJet, which last month confirmed plans to introduce new year-round flights to Manchester and Luton from the summer, which make it the airport's second biggest carrier

That expansion by easyJet was a direct response to the collapse of Flybe in March 2020, and its decision to increase the number of routes at Belfast City to six this summer followed the second failure of Flybe in January this year.

The airport's chief executive Matthew Hall said: “2022 continued to be another hugely challenging year for the industry due to the ongoing disruption to air travel and our recovery from the pandemic.

“As a result, the airport, along with many other airports in the UK, continued to experience substantially lower passenger numbers in 2022 in comparison to pre-pandemic levels.

“This has had a material impact on the performance of the company as airports have a high fixed cost base regardless of the number of passengers carried.”

He added: “Throughout the year, the company secured new airline contracts which was a significant achievement and witnessed, in December 2022, passenger numbers returning to pre-pandemic levels, ensuring Belfast City is one of the top recovering airports.

“2023 looks set to be a strong performing year, with a significant domestic and international route portfolio, with the airport now offering 27 destinations with a diverse range of carriers including British Airways, Aer Lingus Regional, easyJet, KLM, Loganair and a new route to Frankfurt with Lufthansa.”

Meanwhile data analysed by has shown that 1,258 flights in total were cancelled in airports across Northern Ireland in 2022, averaging around 24 every week.

That is more than four times the number of cancelled flights in the same period in 2021, when just 284 flights were disrupted in the north.

Belfast  City had the most cancellations, with 947 flights from 25,308 being impacted, or 3.7 per cent.

Some 275 of the scheduled 35,489 flights at Belfast International Airport didn't get airborne (0.77 per cent) while at Derry Airport 36 of the 3,255 flights were cancelled (1.1 per cent).