December 11, 2020 Back to all news
Christmas Lights, T2

Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport for the Christmas season are expected to be down by 88% compared to the same period last year, as COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact on traffic levels at Irish airports.

An estimated 137,000 people are due to travel through Dublin Airport this Christmas compared to almost 1.2 million people who passed through the airport during the comparable period last year. About 127,000 of those passengers are travelling to and from Ireland during the Christmas period, while about 10,000 people are connecting passengers who pass through Dublin Airport.

From Monday, December 21 to Monday, January 4, 2021 there is expected to be an average of 8,615 departing and arriving passengers per day, which compares to an average of 83,508 passengers per day over the Christmas season last year.

“Dublin Airport will be quieter this Christmas than it has been in decades,” said Dublin Airport spokeswoman Siobhán O’Donnell.

Typically, traffic is split evenly between arrivals and departures over the Christmas period, but this year there are expected to be slightly more departing passengers, as departures are expected to account for 52% of traffic during the period. The busiest day during the Christmas season is expected to be December 27.

The traffic situation this year is more unpredictable than a normal Christmas so the final passenger number may differ from the forecast traffic levels.

“Over the Christmas period we would like to remind all passengers to comply fully with COVID-19 guidelines throughout their journey through Dublin Airport,” Ms O’Donnell added. “Face masks should be worn when in the airport buildings, social distancing protocols should be observed and there are more than 1,000 hand sanitisers located throughout the airport campus.”

In line with Irish Government guidelines and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidelines, to help maintain social distancing, access to the terminals is limited to passengers, crew and airport staff.

Anyone planning to collect passengers should arrange to meet them outside the terminals. There are new meeting points  just outside Terminal 1 and at the glass walkway between the Terminal 2 car park and arrivals. It is recommended that anyone who is collecting passengers at Dublin Airport plan and arrange pick-ups in advance.

The Irish Government is following the EU traffic lights approach to travel, which applies to countries in the European Union/European Economic Area and to the UK. The Government’s current advice for travel to the 30 countries within the traffic light system is to “exercise a high degree of caution”. The Government’s general advice for any other overseas travel remains to “avoid non-essential travel”.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, for the first time in many years Dublin Airport will be unable to host its normal Christmas music programme this year.

Dublin Airport will close on Christmas Day - the only day on which it closes every year - however a number of staff members will remain on duty that day, including the airport’s emergency fire services and Airport Police. 

Flight operations will cease on Christmas Eve after the last flight departs to Chisinau with Air Moldova at 11.20pm and they will resume on St. Stephen’s Day when Ryanair’s flight to Manchester departs at 06.25.

Dublin Airport has the following key tips for passengers travelling over the Christmas holidays:


Aer Lingus, Emirates, and ALL American carriers operate from Terminal 2, while all other airlines operate from Terminal 1.


Passengers are reminded to follow COVID-19 guidelines during their journey through Dublin Airport. Passengers should wear a face mask throughout their airport journey (masks are not required for children under 13) and observe social distancing and hygiene etiquette throughout. There are more details of these measures here.


To comply with Irish law, arriving passengers should complete a Passenger locator Form. This form can be found here and should be completed online in advance of arriving in Ireland. Passengers should also familiarise themselves with the EU traffic lights system and the current Irish Government guidelines in relation to travel.


EU aviation liquid regulations are still in place, so passengers are reminded to pack any gifts in bottles or containers measuring more than 100ml into their checked-in luggage. Details can be found on  


Passengers are also reminded not to carry sharp objects in their hand-luggage, such as, scissors, nail files, blades, corkscrews, cutlery or other sharp objects of any description. These objects should be packed into checked in luggage. Christmas crackers may be brought through the passenger security screening area provided the novelty gifts inside are not sharp/prohibited items. Snow globes are not permitted in hand luggage due to their liquid content.

Passengers should prepare for security screening by removing their outer jacket, belts, keys, coins and laptops from cases so that security searches are kept to a minimum.


If you are planning to bring Christmas gifts by air this festive season Dublin Airport is asking passengers not to gift wrap presents and to consider using an open gift bag instead.

"Many passengers take a lot of care and time to wrap Christmas gifts for family and friends overseas. We would ask them not to wrap these gifts otherwise they may be disappointed if they are requested to open them at the passenger security screening area," said Ms O’Donnell.


Passengers should plan to arrive in the terminal building at least 90 minutes before their flight departure time irrespective of whether they are checking in online or at the airport. Passengers flying long-haul are advised to consult their airline's website for check-in times.