Record number of flights in Irish airspace during 2017
A record 1.13m flights operated in Irish airspace last year, according to the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). The figure was 2.5pc higher than in 2016.
The IAA also confirmed yesterday that it has commenced construction of a new €50m control tower at Dublin Airport to facilitate the new runway.
The new tower is required to facilitate the eventual operation of the new runway being built, which is due to open in 2020.
The runway and associated infrastructure will cost €320m. The IAA said the new tower will become visible to passengers from this March.
The IAA said that during 2017 there was a 5pc increase in the number of flights it handled that were operating between Europe and the United States.
They accounted for almost 501,000 of the total number of commercial flights handled in Irish airspace during 2017.
There was a 3.3pc rise in the total number of flights handled at the three State-owned airports: Dublin, Shannon and Cork. That brought the total at the three gateways to just over 255,000.
Dublin Airport will soon issue passenger traffic figures that are likely to show that passenger numbers there touched close to 30 million during 2017.
It has experienced a surge in passenger growth, as the economy improves and a number of airlines expand capacity and add new routes. Later this year, Ireland will get its first direct service to Asia when Cathay Pacific launches a service between Dublin and Hong Kong.
Yesterday, one of the world's largest air service providers, Dnata, opened a new flight catering facility at Dublin Airport that could create up to 60 jobs, including chefs, operations managers, drivers and other staff. Dnata, part of the Emirates Group, has a catering facility in Cork. Its Dublin operation will focus on providing catering for premium, long-haul carriers, for which the company can supply up to 4,000 meals a day at current capacity.
"In Dublin, we have identified a really strong opportunity to provide the growing number of long-haul carriers" said Dnata president Gary Chapman.
Last year, Dnata posted profits of $330m (€269.1m), with revenue rising 15pc to $3.3bn. It employs 40,000 people and has 61 catering locations.