Northern Ireland news

Belfast City Airport expects 10,000 passengers as many fly home for Christmas

Air passengers walking from the terminal at George Best Belfast City Airport. Northern Ireland (PA)
Rebecca Black, PA

Tens of thousands of people are expected to return home to Northern Ireland for Christmas over the coming days.

Belfast City Airport said it was expecting up to 10,000 passengers on Friday alone, while scores of travellers will arrive via Belfast International Airport, City of Derry Airport and the ferry ports.

There is additional Christmas cheer at Belfast City Airport with school choirs singing carols and visits from Santa.

Airport chief executive Matthew Hall said passenger numbers have recovered since the coronavirus pandemic, but are not back to 2019 levels.

“The most wonderful time of year is once again upon us, and with travel very much back on the cards for many as they reunite with friends and family for yuletide celebrations, Belfast City Airport is expecting to welcome thousands of passengers through its doors this week, with up to 10,000 on December 23 alone,” he said.

“This return to travel is a positive indication of the aviation sector’s recovery, and whilst the airport is not quite back to the passenger volumes of 2019, we do expect to achieve these in the early part of 2023.”

He added: “Every December we relish the opportunity to help spread Christmas cheer in the terminal and this year our passengers enjoyed choir performances from our adopted schools, carolling with Santa and Mrs Claus, gift wrapping stations, and airline partner competitions, whilst staff also participated in many festivities and events in aid of our charity partner of the year, AWARE.”

Looking back at 2022, Mr Hall said they welcomed three new major airline partners; Aer Lingus Regional, flybe, and Lufthansa.

“We enter 2023 with a robust route network of 26 destinations across the UK and Europe, offering passengers plenty of choice, convenience, and flexibility when it comes to travel to and from our shores, and with plans to explore further opportunities for growth,” he said.

“As we close out this year, we would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank our passengers, our stakeholders, and the local community for their continued support, and extend our warmest wishes for a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”

Northern Ireland news