The number of Northern Ireland residents using Dublin Airport increased by 11% to more than 570,000 last year, according to new data from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).
Dublin Airport’s business from Northern Ireland grew about twice as fast as average passenger numbers at the airport, which increased by almost 6% to 20.2 million in 2013.
“We are continuing to see very strong growth in passengers from Northern Ireland choosing to use Dublin Airport,” said Dublin Airport spokesman Paul O’Kane. “Dublin Airport offers consumers much greater choice in terms of routes and frequencies of service, access is easy and convenient whether travelling by car or bus, and car parking at Dublin Airport is better value than at airports in Northern Ireland.”
Meanwhile, Dublin Airport continues to be a key gateway to Northern Ireland for inbound tourism and leisure visitors, as almost two-third of all passengers who come to the island of Ireland by air use Dublin Airport.
“Dublin Airport has a much more extensive international route network than the three airports in Northern Ireland combined, and plays a major role in bringing visitors from Europe, North America, and further afield to Northern Ireland,” O’Kane said.
“Dublin Airport is particularly strong on long-haul routes to North America, and the Middle East and on direct short-haul services to a wide range of European locations, all of which provide large numbers of inbound visitors to Northern Ireland,” he added.
Dublin Airport’s greater choice of flight times and airlines continues to be popular with Northern Ireland residents travelling to London, the data show. Heathrow and Gatwick airports are both in the top three destinations for Northern Ireland consumers and all London airports combined make up 17% of overall trips by NI residents using Dublin Airport in 2013.
Short-haul services to Britain and continental Europe account for six of the top 10 routes for Northern Ireland residents, with long-haul services to North America and the Middle East providing the remaining four locations in the top 10.
The UK is the most popular destination for Northern Ireland residents using Dublin Airport, as it accounted for 20% of overall traffic – equivalent to 1 in 5 flights – last year. The United States was the second most popular destination for Northern Ireland residents flying from Dublin Airport last year, while Italy, Germany and France also featured in the top five.
Dublin Airport expects to see further growth in the number of Northern Ireland passengers using its facilities this year, according to O’Kane. “We have 15 new routes this summer, including many destinations that are not directly served from airports in Northern Ireland,” he said. “Our transatlantic business continues to grow significantly and this year we have new direct services to San Francisco, Toronto and St John’s Newfoundland and extra capacity on some existing North American routes.”
Dublin Airport has direct flights to 13 destinations in North America this summer, with 5 destinations served by more than one airline. During the peak summer months this year, 268 flights will operate each week from Dublin to/from North America, which is an average of 38 flights per day.
“Dublin Airport has more transatlantic flights than Gatwick, Manchester, or Munich airports and is Europe’s seventh largest airport for transatlantic connections this summer. Dublin Airport is also the only major European airport to offer US pre-cleareance, which means that passengers on US-bound flights can clear all immigration and customs checks in Dublin and save significant time and hassle on arrival in the United States.”
The airport’s connectivity to the Middle East and beyond is also growing rapidly. Emirates and Etihad will be operating double daily services to Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively from September offering more choice and increased competition on flights to the Middle East and connecting services to Asia, Australasia and Africa.
There are also 12 new European routes at Dublin Airport this summer, with Ryanair launching new services to nine locations including Almeria, Comiso in Sicily, Lisbon, and Marrakesh and new Aer Lingus routes to Hannover and Pula in Croatia.
Over the past two years, Dublin Airport has been promoting its route network and ease of access from Northern Ireland with a series of targeted advertisements and promotional activities, some of which it is running in tandem with its airline partners.
“We have been making consumers and the travel trade in Northern Ireland more aware of the product available at Dublin Airport and that will continue this year,” O’Kane said.
Top 10 Airport Destinations for Northern Ireland Passengers in 2013
6. New York JFK
10. Abu Dhabi
Top 10 Country Destinations for Northern Ireland Passengers in 2013
7. United Arab Emirates
9. Canary Islands