Economic boom fuels rise in European air passengers
Economic expansion in Europe resulted in strong passenger growth at the region's airports during January, the latest figures from Airports Council International show.
Passenger numbers were 7.4pc higher in the month, while freight traffic was 8.4pc higher.
In Ireland, overall passenger traffic was up 6pc. Dublin Airport handled 1.97 million passengers in January, which was up 6.2pc. Air freight through the gateway rose 13.4pc and there were 6.1pc more aircraft movements.
At Cork, passenger numbers were 3.8pc higher at 137,000 in January, and at Shannon they were up 3.5pc at 103,560. The ACI Europe figures also include airports in countries such as Israel and Turkey, and show that the non-EU market led growth during January, with passenger numbers in those countries up a combined 14.6pc.
ACI Europe said Turkish airports led that non-EU growth, with passenger traffic in the country up 28.1pc.
The organisation said that Russian airports saw a combined 7.7pc increase in passenger numbers, but gateways in former Soviet satellite states such as Georgia, Ukraine and Belarus all did better.
"If you put aside the persisting negative impact of last year's airlines bankruptcies, 2018 is off to a good start for air traffic at Europe's airports," said ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec.
"The main driver for that is continued and robust economic expansion across our continent and beyond. While oil price volatility is more of concern in the medium term, geopolitical tensions remain at the very top of our risk cards for the coming months," he said.
Dublin Airport handled almost 30 million passengers last year and now ranks among the top tier of Europe's busiest airports. It was the 16th busiest in the ACI Europe catchment area during January, just ahead of Copenhagen and Lisbon, and just behind Zurich and Moscow's Domodedovo airport.
The busiest airport remains London Heathrow, which in January alsone handled 5.8 million passengers.
Second was Istanbul's Ataturk airport, with 5.26 million. Paris Charles de Gaulle was third with 5.21 million.
Dublin Airport is set for significant passenger traffic growth this year, with new Aer Lingus services to Philadelphia and Seattle. Cathay Pacific will also inaugurate a service from the capital to Hong Kong.