Irish airspace handles 1m flights in 2015, but Cork and Shannon suffer

Irish airports and airspace will handle over one million flights by the end of this year — but Cork and Shannon airports have both suffered significant drops in traffic.

Irish airspace handles 1m flights in 2015, but Cork and Shannon suffer

A report by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) shows there was a total of 191,776 flights through Dublin airport — a 10% increase on the figure for 2014. The airport is now back at 2008 levels in terms of flights.

However, the news for Cork and Shannon airports was not as good. The report found that just 18,619 flights passed through Shannon airport — a fall of 13% on the 2014 figure. Cork airport suffered a 9.1% drop in flights with 18,057 flights through the airport this year.

In relation to international arrivals and departures, commercial traffic at the three main airports was up 7.3% last month when compared to November of last year. It was a good month for Dublin airport, with the total number of commercial terminal flights at Dublin airport up 9.8%, with an average of 491 flights daily.

However, commercial terminal flights at Cork airport fell by 1.3% with an average of 44 daily movements at the airport. Similarly, Shannon airport also suffered a fall in commercial terminal flights — down 9.3% on 2014 with just 43 daily movements.

However, overall the total number of flights in Irish airspace increased 6.8% last month when compared to 2014. There was an average of 1,402 daily flights during November with the busiest day on November 20 with 1,621 flights in Irish airspace.

Commenting on the figures, IAA chief executive Eamonn Brennan said 2015 was a “landmark year” for the Irish aviation industry.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in air traffic at Dublin airport as well as a very strong demand on transatlantic. We will safely handle over one million flights this year at Irish airports and through airspace managed by the IAA. I’m very pleased with our performance,” he said.

Mr Brennan said that both Cork and Shannon airports have had a number of announcements in recent months in relation to new routes which should see those figures rise in 2016.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Turkish Airlines is considering flights out of Cork Airport.

Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, also announced two new British routes from Cork-Southampton five times a week, and to Leeds Bradford three times a week from next summer.

Mr Brennan said 2015 was a year of “milestones” and called for the construction of a new a new parallel runway at Dublin airport as soon as possible. “Looking back, 2015 was full of milestones for the Irish aviation industry, including the sale of Aer Lingus to IAG and the continued expansion of Ryanair, who will carry over 104 million passengers. In August, the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport published the new National Aviation Policy for Ireland and we’re just about to introduce new rules requiring the registration of all drones with the IAA that weigh over 1kg,” he said.

The IAA chief executive also predicted another strong year for Irish aviation in 2016.

“The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has just revised its airline industry outlook for 2015 upwards to a net profit of $33 billion (€29.8bn) a 4.6% net profit margin, from $29.3 bn (€26.5bn) forecast in June and predicts total net profits of $36.3bn (€32.8bn) next year. All things being equal, we’re predicting another strong year in 2016,” he said.

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