Belfast International Airport is reporting an almost six-fold increase in operating profit on a turnover that has jumped by almost 12%.
The operating profit was £2.886 million which was close to a 500% jump on the previous year’s figure of £510,000.
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 6 million next year.
During the year to the end of December, 2016, passenger numbers soared by 17% from 4.4 million to 5.2 million.
Turnover went 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 with expenditure in 2017 expected to exceed £5 million.
The airport has achieved twenty-six 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.
The financial performance has been described as ‘a superb effort’ by the Managing Director, Graham Keddie.
Mr Keddie said: “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.
“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’.
“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.
“Our big ‘asks’ remain 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.
“Things are looking good, and this superb effort will be maintained next year as we continue on our growth trajectory.”