Pressing need for new runway at Dublin - aviation chief
DUBLIN needs a new runway to cope with a huge rise in the number of flights to pre-recession levels, the head of the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has said.
The authority handled one million flights over Irish airspace for the first time last year, more than one fifth of which landed in the country.
But the number of flights into and out of Cork and Shannon continued to decrease last year, set against a 10pc rise in Dublin.
The capital's airport saw 191,233 flights in 2015.
Cork handled 18,141 and Shannon 18,710, decreases of 8.6pc and 12.5pc respectively.
IAA chief executive Eamonn Brennan said the overall increase in air traffic made it a great year for the Irish aviation industry, but warned Dublin needed to upgrade the airport.
"It was a great year and this is reflected in landmark one million flights that were safely and efficiently handled by the IAA," he said.
"Dublin Airport is now operating at 2008 levels and there is a pressing need to construct a new parallel runway at Dublin Airport as soon as possible."
He said strong growth in our transatlantic traffic was driven by the strength of the dollar and the low cost of oil.
He predicted better times for Cork and Shannon, saying they "have had a number of announcements of new services in recent months, which should see those figures rise in 2016".
The IAA handled 2,811 flights every day last year at Irish State airports, through Irish airspace and on the North Atlantic.
In December, total flights in Irish airspace rose by 12.8pc compared to December 2014. There was an average of 1,412 daily flights during December 2015. The busiest day was December 18 with 1,778 flights in Irish airspace.