The chair of Derry City Council's Airport Committee, Councillor Colum Eastwood, has said the most recent passenger figures reveal the airport has started to emerge from the economic downturn.
Councillor Eastwood was speaking as the first Ryanair flights from City of Derry Airport to Faro started on Thursday with a fully-booked flight.
Figures released this week show the numbers using the airport in February increased significantly from the same period last year. In February 2009, 23,687 people used the airport, compared to 24,249 this year.
Colr Eastwood said the figures were extremely positive following worrying decreases in passenger traffic last year.
"It's great to see the figures going up like this and it's down to a lot of hard work by staff at the airport. This gives everyone involved great hope and we're expecting even better growth in the coming months with the addition of new flights to Manchester and Glasgow and the change in scheduling of the Dublin flight in the morning."
Colr Eastwood said he believed the airported had traded well throughout the economic downturn.
"For a small airport, we traded well in difficult times and we're confident that the most recent figures signal that we've turned a corner and are now positioned to take advantage of any economic upturn."
He also welcomed the flights to Faro as a huge selling point for the airport, adding:
"The addition of this new route to Faro is great news for City of Derry Airport and for the people of the region. This service will allow holidaymakers to avail of this direct flight to the heart of the Algarve, offering value and choice for our passenger. The new service is a positive development for the airport and cements its position as a key asset to the region," he said.