Steve Frazer, Managing Director at City of Derry Airport shares why they have become a new member of NITA.
Provide A Business Overview
City of Derry Airport (CoDA) has been operating for over 40 years and works with existing airline partners Loganair and Ryanair, and NI award-winning tour operator, Travel Solutions, to provide flight services and holidays to the UK, Spain and Portugal.
With a catchment of over 500,000 across the Derry City & Strabane, Causeway Coast & Glens and Donegal districts, where passengers are already making 3.5 million journeys per year, the airport provides the opportunity to fly local and enjoy a safe, friendly and convenient travel experience.
CoDA is a cross border airport with Donegal and is located just 10 minutes from the Walled City of Derry-Londonderry, and is centrally positioned between the world-famous Causeway Coastal Route and the enchanting Wild Atlantic Way, providing inbound passengers with the perfect gateway to explore the very best of the North West of Ireland.
Around one fifth of the population lives in the North West, closer to the City of Derry and numbers are increasing rapidly due to the relocation trend from major cities to the Northwest region as a result of the “new world” of home working and more flexible approaches to work.
Describe the importance of NITA membership and a voice for Tourism?
As operations at CoDA continue to evolve, relationships with our tourism partners are more important than ever. NITA has been hugely supportive of what we are trying to achieve in terms of communicating the importance of the airport as an essential entry point for the North West and a key contribution to the North West and wider NI economy. As a member of NITA, we have the opportunity to connect with a network of key stakeholders across the NI tourism industry and it has provided us with a strengthened voice for communicating with government on our challenges, proposed solutions and strategies for growth.
By joining NITA we look forward to engaging with the industry network, growing our partnerships and our contribution to the tourism economy which is key for the North West region
What opportunities and challenges do you see for 2022?
Our core objectives are improving connectivity between the North West and key UK & European hubs, and to strengthen our frequency on key business routes in support of the North West’s regional development plans. With the City Deal and Inclusive Future Fund, we hope that CoDA will also benefit and be well positioned to serve the growing demand from the local catchment area, within the wider strategic growth plan.
Regional connectivity does require some support in order for tourism to grow and support the City Deal strategy. Due to our island status, we need the recommendations in the Union Connectivity review to be realised, combined with an appropriate APD reduction which continues to be a major barrier for NI Airports. In 2019, one in four passengers from a NI postcode used Dublin airport where zero APD is charged. A level playing field is essential to be competitive especially post Covid and an opportunity for a Northern Ireland specific route development initiative specific to the roles our three airports serve, which will delivers sustained benefits to the wider NI Economy.
We are continuing to attract new routes and partners, having welcomed Ryanair back to NI for the launch of our new Manchester service in December 2021, as well as the launch of our holiday packages for the Algarve and Majorca for Summer 2022, and a new Loganair service to Edinburgh taking off from May. We are delighted to add that there will be an exciting announcement with the launch of an additional sun destination from CoDA in the coming weeks!
We look forward to working closely with our airlines, travel agents, tour operators and industry partners to accelerate the growth and recovery of the sector in 2022.