- Top 5 destinations: London, Amsterdam, Manchester, New York, Birmingham
- Busiest Day: June 30 – 108,000 passengers
- Average of 81,000 passengers per day
- Busiest Month: July – 3.12m passengers
- Quietest Month: February – 1.79m passengers
- Two new airlines – Air Arabia Maroc and Qatar Airways
- 14 new routes
- Extra capacity on 39 existing services
Dublin Airport broke records with 29.6m passengers travelling through it last year – but just shy of the anticipated 30m mark given the background of falling numbers of British visitors due to a weaker sterling and Brexit.
The airport is now the 11 largest in the European Union, with 191 destinations in 42 countries served by 47 airlines, with an overall 6pc rise (1.7m) in passenger numbers in 2017.
About 27.8 million passengers started or ended their journey at Dublin last year, while a further 1.8m passengers used it as a hub.
Short-haul traffic increased by 4pc to 25.3m, while long-haul passenger numbers increased by 19pc to 4.3m.
Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison said: “The continued growth at Dublin Airport is fantastic news for the Irish economy. Increased air connectivity boosts tourism, trade and foreign direct investment. Last year’s record performance for visitor numbers across the island of Ireland was underpinned by the growth in passenger numbers at Dublin.”
Since 2011, annual passenger numbers at Dublin Airport have increased by 58pc from 18.7m to 29.6m. The bulk of the growth has occurred in the past four years with passenger traffic increasing by 47pc between 2014 and 2017. “We saw growth from all of our major airline customers during the year,” according to Mr Harrison. “We are focused on attracting new airlines to Dublin and also on helping our existing airlines to grow their business here.”
The European market delivered the largest growth in volume terms during 2017. Passenger traffic to and from continental Europe, which is Dublin Airport’s largest market segment, increased by 7pc to a record 15.2m in 2017. About 940,000 additional people took flights between Dublin and continental European destinations last year.
Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, KLM, Norwegian and Ryanair all increased capacity on existing European routes, and there were also new services to destinations such as Munich, Naples, Split, Stuttgart and Stockholm.
Traffic between Dublin and British airports increased by 1pc to just under 10m last year, which was also a new record. Dublin Airport said the decline in British-originating traffic last year “was more than offset by an increase in both Irish outbound business and transfer traffic” to Britain.
Transatlantic traffic was the fastest-growing segment of the market for the second year in a row. Passenger numbers increased by 20pc to almost 3.5m – the first time that more than 3m passengers have taken transatlantic flights to and from Dublin Airport in a single year.
“Dublin Airport is now a significant player in the transatlantic market and we saw strong growth in both point-to-point and connecting traffic to and from North America during 2017,” Mr Harrison said. “We’re expecting further transatlantic growth this year with new Aer Lingus routes to Philadelphia and Seattle, a new Air Canada service to Montreal, and expansions to some existing North American routes.”
Passenger traffic to other international destinations, including the Middle East and Africa, increased by 14pc to almost 850,000 last year. Qatar Airways launched a new Dublin-Doha service last June, while Etihad returned to double-daily on its Abu Dhabi service, and Ethiopian expanded its Dublin-Addis Ababa route.
The number of passengers transferring rose by 35pc to a record 1.6m. A further 200,000 passengers (bigger than Cork City’s population) transited through Dublin – passed through Dublin but didn’t change flights – on services between the US and Africa. In all, 1.8 million passengers – bigger than the capital’s population – didn’t leave the airside area.