Saturday 21 October 2017

Airport passenger traffic numbers hit 13.8 million

Dublin Airport is on course to handle 30 million passengers
Dublin Airport is on course to handle 30 million passengers
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Dublin Airport was the 15th busiest in Europe in the first half of 2017, handling 13.8 million passengers, according to new figures released by the European arm of Airports Council International (ACI).

The figure was 6.2pc higher than during the first half of 2016.

With the airport's busy summer season drawing to a close, Dublin remains on track to handle about 30 million passengers this year.

It handled just under 28 million in 2016, but this year has seen a number of new services launched and additional capacity provided on some existing routes.

Among the carriers to have inaugurated services this year is Qatar Airways, which launched its service between Dublin and Doha. Aer Lingus is launching a service to Miami next month, while Norwegian Air International also launched services from Dublin to the United States.

Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe, said that the first six months of 2017 had been the best first half-year performance in 10 years for Europe's airports.

He pointed out that passenger volumes have grown by 30pc since 2012.

"This kind of growth has clearly outstripped the most optimistic forecasts - something that should be borne in mind by anyone who doubts the looming airport capacity crunch facing Europe," he said.

The DAA, which operates Dublin and Cork Airports, recently rejected criticism from IAG chief executive Willie Walsh that it has not done enough to build new infrastructure at Dublin Airport to cope with the fast pace of growth there.

Mr Walsh said that IAG could decide to slow the expansion of Aer Lingus at the airport. The DAA has already embarked on a €320m project to build a new runway and associated infrastructure and said it's spending €100m a year to upgrade and maintain facilities at Dublin Airport.

Mr Jankovec said that the outlook for Europe's airports for the remainder of the year is "very positive", especially in the Eurozone.

"Of course, this is assuming there are no new geopolitical upsets," he warned.

"Having said that, Brexit remains the number one worry for many airport CEOs - given the continued uncertainty surrounding negotiations.

"The countdown to March 2019 keeps ticking and if no progress is achieved in the coming months, we are likely to see negative impacts on aviation kick in already next year."

Irish Independent

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