Dublin Airport passenger figures set to hit 27 million after surge in the first quarter
Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport soared almost 18pc in the first quarter of the year, easily putting it on track to boost the figure to more than 27 million this year.
New figures from industry group Airports Council International (ACI) show that Dublin was also the fastest-growing airport in its category in Europe during March.
Dublin Airport is now the 17th biggest airport in Europe, having handled 5.5 million passengers in the first quarter of 2016. That's 17.5pc more than in the first three months of 2015.
It handled just over 25 million passengers in 2015, which was a 15pc increase on the previous year. And with a big increase in capacity and routes scheduled for this summer, it puts the airport on target for another bumper year.
"The magnitude of the traffic increase at many airports has defied economic gravity," according to ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec. "To some extent, it has also flown in the face of an increasingly adverse geopolitical and security environment."
The figures from ACI came as the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said yesterday that air traffic at our three main airports grew by a combined 9pc in April compared to April 2015. In Dublin, aircraft movements were 9.4pc higher last month, with an average of 568 a day.
At Cork, aircraft movements were up 11.3pc, with an average of 55 daily. At Shannon, there was a 2.3pc increase, with an average of 50 a day.
IAA chief executive Eamonn Brennan welcomed the growth in April's traffic, and also said the choice for Irish consumers will be expanded when Ireland-based Norwegian Air International (NAI) receives its approval to operate flights to the United States.
Mr Brennan said that opposition to the carrier is based on restricting consumer choice and competition. The Irish Independent reported this week that US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has objected to NAI being able to fly between Ireland and the United States.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that there appears to have been a "robust overall start" to 2016 for the global airline industry.
"We estimate that airfares fell by around 4pc in constant exchange rate terms in early-2016," it noted.
"However, with oil prices up 65pc since their January low, the biggest stimulus to demand from lower airfares now appears to be behind us," it added in its latest report.