Business news

Almost 35 million passengers fly through Ireland’s two busiest airports in 2023

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Dublin Airport

24th Jan 2024

Ireland’s two busiest airports – Dublin Airport and Cork Airport – welcomed almost 35 million passengers in 2023, according to new figures released today by daa, the operator of both airports.

A total of 31.908 million passengers passed through the terminals of Dublin Airport in 2023, in compliance with the 32 million terminals cap.

Figures from operator daa also confirmed that Cork Airport enjoyed the busiest year in its 62-year history for international passenger traffic, with 2.8 million passengers travelling through in 2023 – which represented a +25% increase on 2022 levels (2.24 million).

Dublin Airport

The hard-working team at Dublin Airport ensured a consistently smooth experience for passengers throughout 2023, with 97% of passengers passing through security screening in less than 20 minutes – bettering daa’s own stated target of 90% through in under 20 minutes.

The busiest day of the year at Dublin Airport, and indeed in the history of the airport, was Sunday July 30 when 121,000 passengers travelled through the airport. In total, there were 241,595 flight movements at Dublin Airport during 2023.

Kenny Jacobs, CEO of daa, said: “2023 was a very solid year for both Dublin Airport and Cork Airport as our hard-working teams ensured a consistently smooth and positive experience for all passengers who travelled through both airports.

“It was a year full of highlights at Dublin Airport, from the arrival of US President Joe Biden and Air Force one in April to the departure and arrival home of the Irish women’s football team and the men’s rugby team to and from their respective World Cups during the summer.”

“Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport are now 60% higher that they were a decade ago and there is a strong demand for further growth, which would continue to bring new jobs and economic growth to Ireland. As it stands, Dublin Airport has room to grow and could comfortably accommodate 35 million passengers per annum with the current infrastructure, but we now face a period of stalled growth as we continue to adhere to the annual terminal caps of 32 million passengers.

“Existing airline customers want to grow at Dublin and new airline customers want to start flying to and from Dublin. The airline and passenger demand is there, Ireland will lose out to other uncapped hub airports with potential new jobs and new connectivity being lost until Dublin Airport is allowed to operate at a much higher capacity.

“Dublin Airport last year submitted an Infrastructure Application to Fingal County Council which, if approved, would enable us to take up these growth opportunities for Ireland Inc and increase passenger numbers to 40 million per annum, which would result in more jobs being created and further economic growth. Until this application is approved, Dublin Airport’s terminals will remain capped at 32 million passengers and Ireland will continue to wave goodbye to good jobs and economic growth.” added Jacobs.

Cork Airport

Cork Airport enjoyed an extremely busy year, with over 2.8 million passengers travelling to and from Munster’s busiest airport in 2023. This marked the busiest year for international passenger traffic in Cork Airport’s 62-year history.

daa CEO Kenny Jacobs said: “Cork Airport is the fastest growing airport in Ireland and Cork’s strategic location is proving very attractive from a traffic development point of view. The addition of five new summer routes and four winter routes contributed to Cork Airport’s strong growth, and the addition of these new routes was in direct response to the demand that exists in Munster and south Leinster for new and exciting destinations.”

Cork Airport’s strong performing European hub routes, London Heathrow (Aer Lingus), Amsterdam (Aer Lingus, KLM) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (Air France), were some of the main drivers of growth in 2023.

Significant investments were made by daa in key capital infrastructure project’s at Ireland’s second busiest airport during the year. In November, a new €6.2 million electrical substation, constructed with financial support from the Department of Transport, was opened which future proofs the electrical infrastructure at Cork Airport for generations to come.

Kenny Jacobs added: “I want to thank the team at Cork Airport for delivering a record-breaking year in 2023. With further growth anticipated in 2024, Cork Airport will continue to offer a “best-in-class” service to passengers, with more new and exciting destinations in the pipeline.”

December 2023

Dublin Airport enjoyed a busy end to the year, with 2.3 million passengers travelling through the airport’s terminals in December. The airport facilitated a total of 17,891 flights during the month as thousands returned home to Ireland and overseas to celebrate Christmas with family and friends.

Standards were very high for passengers in December with 98% of the 1.2 million departing passengers passing through security screening in under 20 minutes, while the average time it took for bags to reach the baggage carousel after their plane arrived at its gate was 17 minutes.

In December 2023, carbon per passenger at Dublin Airport was 1.0kg, a 4% reduction on December 2022. This data relates to our scope 1 and 2 emissions and a rolling annual average carbon figure.

December was also a very busy month at Cork Airport with a total of 196,800 passengers flying to and from the state’s second busiest airport. This marked a 20% increase on passenger traffic in December 2022. As tens of thousands of passengers returned home from the likes of North America, Australia, Asia and the Middle East, thousands of others took the opportunity to take off on a ski break or winter sun holiday, with particularly strong load factors noted in both categories.

Passengers flying from Cork Airport enjoyed a swift, efficient security screening experience, where 99% cleared security in 20 minutes or less.