High Times for Irish Airports as a 10% rise in Passengers Recorded
Thirty-three million people traveled through Irish airports last year, a 10% increase the year previous.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that passenger numbers increased in all Irish airports, except Waterford.
Waterford Airport currently has no scheduled air services following the collapse of the Belgian airline, VLM, in June 2016. The CSO figures show that Waterford Airport passenger numbers fell from 34,249, in 2015, to 13,511, last year.
The airport received a €1 million state grant last year to help cover operational costs as part of a €2.7 million state fund made available to regional airports, and the Department of Transport allocated Waterford airport €870,000 last September, but will only receive the money when a scheduled service resumes.
Management at Waterford Airport has been seeking for a replacement service since the loss of the London-Luton link. It was reported in February that the company were in discussion with potential replacement carriers, although at this point, there are no indications these having been successful. The airport is currently used by corporate jets and as a base for the Coast Guard’s search-and-rescue helicopter.
Of the 3.1m additional passengers travelling through Irish airports last year, 2.8m (92%) passed through Dublin Airport. In follows ACI Europe figures earlier in 2017, which showed Dublin Airport was the fastest growing major airport in Europe last year.
In 2015, 30 million passengers passed through Irish airports, an increase of 12.5% on the previous year. Last year’s was the highest number since 2008, when 31.3m people used the airports. Some 247,000 flights were managed by the country’s five main airports last year, with Dublin accounting for 83% of them and Cork 8%. Dublin Airport handled the highest number of passengers, or 27,778,888, an 11% increase on 2015. Cork, with 2,226,233 passengers, was up 8%, while Kerry, with 325,670, was up 7%. The total number of departing passengers marginally exceeded those arriving with 16,411,135 departures and 16,330,092 arrivals.
Freight figures meanwhile, are down. Irish airports handled 146,829 tonnes of freight last year, a decrease on the 2015 figure of 149,800 tonnes.
London-Heathrow, London-Gatwick, and Manchester were the most popular routes for passengers passing through Dublin Airport. For Cork, the top-three routes were London-Heathrow, London-Stansted, and Amsterdam. Last year, nine out of every 10 passengers (87.8%) on international flights from Ireland’s main airports were travelling to or from Europe, and within that the two most popular countries were Britain and Spain.
Outside of Europe, the United States was the most popular country to visit.
In other other airport news, Kerry Airport has welcomed a new charter service, operated by Austrian travel company, Moser Reisen, and this will bring an additional 2,200 tourists into the region, when it begins in the summer.
Dublin Airport announced that Air Arabia Maroc will operate a new twice-weekly service from Dublin to Agadir, in Morocco, from October, making the winter holiday spot more accessible.
Budget carrier Norwegian Air International (NAI), will begin new transatlantic services from Dublin, Cork and Shannon – commencing this summer.