THE number of passengers that have used City of Derry Airport has halved over the last five years.
Figures show that between 2013 and 2018, the numbers using the council-owned airport have fallen from nearly 385,000 in 2013, to nearly 186,000 in 2018.
An airport spokeswoman said the decline is a result of reduced capacity following the withdrawal of Ryanair’s London-Stansted service.
The Irish airline formerly operated a route between the airport and Stansted but axed the flights in March 2017.
“Operations of a double daily public service obligation route to London-Stansted commenced in May 2017, offering more frequency to London-Stansted but less capacity than the previous operator,” she said.
Since February this year, Scottish airline Loganair has taken over the route to London.
And last month, Loganair also started flights from the City of Derry Airport to Manchester.
The airport is currently running at a £2.145m loss per year, paid for by Derry City and Strabane District Council ratepayers.
The fall at CoDA is in stark contrast to the rise in number of passengers using Belfast International Airport which has saw its figures rise by 29 per cent.
Two million more passengers used Belfast International alone last year than in 2013.
Overall, more than 6.2 million travellers used the international airport in 2018, according to the Civil Aviation Authority figures.
“Increasing our passenger numbers by more than 2.2 million in just five years is an impressive achievement,” a spokeswoman for the International airport said.
“Of course, much more could be achieved without the burden of Air Passenger Tax (APD) and we will continue with our campaign to get rid of this hugely unfair tax that places Northern Ireland airports at an enormous disadvantage to the Republic of Ireland where no similar tax applies.”
At George Best City airport, there was a fractional drop in passenger numbers between 2013 (2.54 million passengers) and 2018 (2.51 million passengers).