Passenger numbers at Kerry Airport rose by 9% last year, the airport's annual report and accounts show today. 

The airport recently became the helicopter base for oil and gas exploration rigs moving into the Porcupine Basin off the coast of Kerry.

Total passenger numbers at the airport grew to 365,339 in 2018, up from 335,480 during the previous year.

The subsidised and "critically important" Aer Lingus Kerry-Dublin route - operated by Stobart Air - recorded growth of 12% and an average Passenger Load Factor of close to 60%.

Kerry Airport reported an operating profit after tax of €966,056, up from €728,626 in the previous year. 

Car parking income at almost €400,000 brought in more revenue than the €388,300 gift shop sales, today's figures show. 

Turnover increased from €6.34m to €7.9m during the year. 

The annual report also shows that the Ryanair London-Luton performed well, but the long established German route to Frankfurt-Hahn experienced a small  drop in its numbers.

A second German link set up in 2018 - Ryanair's Kerry to Berlin service - also performed well with its twice weekly service recording 32,518 passengers in the first full year of operation. 

The now annual sun holiday routes to Alicante in Spain and Faro in Portugal continue to be popular  and the airport said it is eyeing up more sun destinations.