The number of arrivals and departures through Irish airports soared to almost 30m last year, although Cork and Knock actually had a drop in passenger numbers.
Figures issued by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed a national increase of 12.5% over the previous year in passenger numbers using the airports, with the number of departing passengers marginally exceeding those arriving for the main airports in 2015.
Dublin airport accounted for 83.8% of all passengers last year, up almost 9% compared to figures for 2008 and up 15% compared to 2014.
Shannon Airport also boosted its passenger numbers for the third year in a row and had an 8% rise in 2015 compared with the previous year. Yet, while other airports including Kerry and Donegal registered an increase, Knock had a 2.7% drop and Cork Airport saw passenger numbers fall for the third year in a row, down 3.4% in 2015 compared with figures for 2014.
However, spokesman for Cork Airport, Kevin Cullinane, said he expected the downward trend of recent years would be reversed in 2016, with figures already showing an increase in the number of people using the airport.
“Already this year Cork Airport is the fastest growing airport in the State, with 8% growth in the year to date,” he said.
“Even with that 3.4% decline last year we were still the second busiest in the country.
“The reason there is growth this year is because of eight new routes and four new airlines at the airport, so the foundations for this year’s growth were set last year.”
It emerged yesterday the Cork-Menorca route due to begin next month has been dropped with CityJet indicating that it was notified in recent days by travel agents operating the route that it was not going ahead, with a lack of demand being blamed.
The CSO figures also show passengers from the UK accounted for almost half of all Europeans using Irish airports last year, while more than 2.8m North Americans passed through Irish airports in 2015.
Almost nine out of every 10 passengers on international flights in the five main airports were travelling to or from Europe, while the three most popular countries of origin/destination were the United Kingdom, Spain, and the United States.
Almost 232,000 flights were handled by the country’s five main airports last year with Dublin accounting for more than 81% of all flights, while Cork handled almost 8% of all flights. July was the busiest month with 3.2m passengers travelling.
The London-Heathrow, London-Gatwick and London-Stansted routes were the most popular for passengers in Dublin Airport while, for Cork, the top three routes were London-Heathrow, London-Stansted and Amsterdam.
In Shannon, the main routes were London-Heathrow, London-Stansted, and New York–John F Kennedy while London-Stansted, London-Luton, and Liverpool-John Lennon were the most popular routes to and from Knock.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved