More than 20m visitors have passed through Ireland’s busiest airport this year — the first time the landmark level has been reached since 2009.
The figure was reached yesterday morning when the United Airlines UA126 flight from Washington DC touched down just before 10am.
Roma Chang, from Donaghmore in Co Tyrone, was greeted with flowers, champagne and a holiday gift voucher for €3,000 after being told she was the landmark arrival.
“I’m overwhelmed and completely surprised. This is a fantastic way to be greeted with on arrival,” she said.
In 2008, the last year before the recession fully took hold, more than 23m people came to Ireland via Dublin airport.
The rate stayed above 20m in 2009, but fell to 18.4m in 2010. While the figure grew slightly in subsequent years, until nowit had failed to mirror pre-recession levels.
Dublin Airport Authority chief executive Kevin Toland said the upsurge is due to the Gathering festivities, new routes and what he claimed are increased advertising campaigns in other countries.
He said the facility’s use levels are “up 6%” for the year and the airport “has had 16 consecutive months of traffic growth and has outperformed the European average in each of the past 14 months”.
Among the new routes expected to help further improve airport usage next year are San Francisco, Toronto and Hannover (Aer Lingus); Lisbon, Prague, Almeria and Bari (Ryanair); Newfoundland (WestJet); Toronto (Air Canada Rouge); and Luxembourg (Luxair).
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