IRELAND. Dublin Airport handled a record 29.6 million passengers in 2017, a rise of +6% year-on-year. The growth was driven by a surge in transatlantic traffic and by a robust rise in numbers on European routes.

This was the seventh consecutive year of growth at Dublin Airport, making it the 11th largest airport within the EU measured by traffic volume.

Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison said: “The continued growth at Dublin Airport is fantastic news for the Irish economy. 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 +58% from 18.7 million to 29.6 million. The vast bulk of the growth has occurred in the past four years with passenger traffic increasing by +47% between 2014 and 2017.

Passenger power: Transatlantic and other long-haul traffic climbed sharply in 2017, good news for ARI’s duty free business at Dublin Airport

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 +7% to a record 15.2 million.

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.

Moodie Davitt snapshot: Dublin Airport traffic 2017
– Top 5 destinations: London, Amsterdam, Manchester, New York, Birmingham
– Busiest day: June 30: 108,000 passengers
– Busiest month: July: 3.12 million passengers
– Quietest month: February: 1.79 million passengers
– Two new airlines – Air Arabia Maroc & Qatar Airways
– 14 new routes
Source: The Moodie Davitt Report

Traffic between Dublin and British airports increased by +1% to just under 10 million last year, which was also a new record. The impact of weaker Sterling following the Brexit vote in the UK contributed to a decline in UK-originating traffic last year, but this was offset by an increase in both Irish outbound business and transfer traffic to the UK.

Transatlantic traffic was the fastest-growing segment of the market for the second year in a row. Transatlantic passenger numbers increased by +20% last year to almost 3.5 million. This was the first time that more than 3 million passengers have taken transatlantic flights to and from Dublin Airport in a single year.

Last year Dublin Airport welcomed new transatlantic services from Aer Lingus (Miami), Delta (Boston), and Norwegian (Stewart New York and Boston Providence). There was also increased capacity on flights to and from Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto and Washington DC.

“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,” 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 +14% 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.

This year will see Dublin Airport welcome its first direct service to Asia Pacific as Cathay Pacific launches a Dublin-Hong Kong service in June.

The number of passengers transferring at Dublin Airport increased by +35% last year to a record 1.6 million.