Northern Ireland

Dublin Airport used by record number of NI travellers

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Media captionThe number of Northern Ireland passengers using Dublin Airport has reached a record high, as Julian O'Neill reports

The number of people from Northern Ireland using Dublin Airport is at a new record high.

Figures show that last year passenger numbers rose to 864,000 - an increase of 52% on 2013.

The top destination for Northern Ireland residents using Dublin, was New York JFK, followed by London Heathrow.

The increase coincides with complaints by Northern Ireland airports that UK air passenger tax is holding back expansion.

Overall, more than 21 million passengers used Dublin Airport in 2014, representing growth of 8%.

By comparison, Belfast International Airport (four million passengers) and George Best, Belfast City Airport (2.5 million passengers) recorded fractional growth, well below 1%.

City of Derry Airport saw numbers drop by 9%.

Dublin promotes itself heavily in Northern Ireland, both with advertising and at events involving travel agents.

Spokesman Paul O'Kane said they "make no apology" for doing so".

He added: "Route choice is the main reason why consumers in Northern Ireland opt for Dublin Airport."

All Northern Ireland airports are battling to regain business lost during the recession.

While they have been adding new routes, they argue Dublin has an edge, especially after the Irish government abolished air passenger tax in 2014.