Derry-based transport company Airporter has passed a major milestone by serving more than 1.5million passengers since it first opened.
The company, which provides a direct service from Derry-Londonderry to both Belfast airports, today announced it reached the incredible milestone over a busy Easter period. This means the company has provided almost 100,000 journeys in their trademark coaches.
Opening in 1996 with just two drivers and around 5,000 customers a year, the company now serves over 155,000 customers annually and the number of employees has trebled in the last four years. Airporter now employs more than 30 drivers and operates a fleet of 21 vehicles.
The demand for Airporter’s services has increased sharply in recent years, driven by increased tourism and commuters travelling to and from the North West for work.
This steep increase saw the company invest £1million in a new, purpose-built facility and hub in October 2018. At the same time, it moved its pickup point to the city centre in a strategic partnership with Foyleside Shopping Centre.
The company has also invested heavily in digital technology which allows passengers to book tickets 24 hours a day from anywhere and almost 100% of its bookings are online.
Jennifer McKeever, Director of Airporter said:
“Reaching this milestone of 1.5 million customers is an incredible achievement and something that we’re very proud of. It is testament to the hard work, professionalism and excellent customer service from our staff that Airporter has become first choice for so many people travelling to and from the North West.
“We’ve seen rapid growth in the last few years and a big part of this is due to an increase in tourism as more people than ever are visiting our city and region. The Derry Girls phenomenon has been a great addition to the tourism offering this year and it’s exciting to see how screen tourism is starting bring in new visitors from new markets.
“We carry passengers travelling to and from the North West for any number of reasons, not just holiday-makers. We’re popular amongst students who are studying in England, Scotland or Wales and who want a quick and easy way to get themselves home over the holidays.
“Over the years we have seen a huge increase in the percentage of passengers who travel for work and business. That increased connectivity is good for the whole region, because when companies are looking to invest in a location, one of the first things they look for is how well connected it is to the rest of the world. Our service means that people can live in Derry and work in Manchester, London or beyond.
“We’ve always been really proud of our willingness to innovate and do more. We opened the year after the first Easyjet flight in direct response to that model of quick and easy transport and we were the first coach company in Northern Ireland to invest in an online booking system, so while this growth is an incredible achievement, we’re already thinking about how we can be better.”