Irish Aviation Sees New Passenger Records in 2023

2.8m People Used Dublin Airport in October: What About the Cuts?
Photo Credit: Dublin Airport.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Ireland recently released its Aviation Statistics for the fourth quarter (Q4) and full year of 2023.

The report highlights a significant increase in air travel through Ireland’s five main airports: Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock, and Kerry.

Record-Breaking Year for Passenger Traffic

2023 marked a monumental year for Irish aviation, recording the highest number of passengers since the CSO began tracking these statistics in 2013.

A staggering 39.2 million people transited through at least one of Ireland’s main airports, representing a 20% increase compared to 2022.

This growth even surpasses pre-pandemic levels, with passenger numbers exceeding 2019 figures by a notable 3%.

Dublin Airport T2 exterior
Photo Credit: Dublin Airport

Strong Performance Across All Quarters

The positive trend continued throughout the year. Passenger volume in Q4 2023 witnessed a 9% increase over Q4 2022 and a 6% rise compared to Q4 2019.

Additionally, the number of flights to and from Irish airports in 2023 climbed by a significant 16% year-on-year.

Dublin Airport Remains Dominant Hub

Dublin Airport maintained its position as the busiest gateway, handling a staggering 84% of all flights (229,756) in 2023. Cork Airport followed closely, managing 7% of the total air traffic (19,777 flights).

For passengers departing Dublin, London-Heathrow, London-Gatwick, and Amsterdam-Schiphol emerged as the most popular destinations.

Meanwhile, London-Heathrow dominated traffic for Cork and Shannon airports. Passengers flying through Knock Airport favored London-Stansted, while Kerry Airport saw Dublin as its most frequented route.

Air Cargo Sees Upward Trend

The positive aviation outlook extended to air freight, with a 6% increase in cargo handled by Irish airports in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Passenger Arrivals and Departures Reflect Strong Demand

The data reveals a significant rise in both incoming and outgoing passenger traffic. Compared to 2022, the number of passengers arriving in Ireland surged by 20%, translating to nearly 3.3 million additional travelers.

This growth even outpaced pre-pandemic levels by almost 600,000 passengers. Departures also reflected a positive trend, with 19.6 million passengers leaving Ireland in 2023.

This represents a 3.4 million increase over 2022 and a half-million more compared to 2019.

Q4 2023 Maintains Positive Trajectory

The final quarter of 2023 continued the positive trend. Over 9.0 million passengers traveled through Irish airports during this period. This has marked a 781,000 and 479,000 passenger increase compared to Q4 2022 and Q4 2019, respectively.

Overall, the CSO’s Aviation Statistics report paints a picture of a thriving Irish aviation sector in 2023.Passenger numbers are exceeding pre-pandemic levels and there is a significant rise in both arrivals and departures.

daa Reports Strong Passenger Numbers for Dublin & Cork
Photo sourced from Dublin Airport Website.

Based on performance and trends, Ireland’s airports look to be well-positioned for continued growth in the years to come.

Aviation statistics are compiled from data supplied by all Irish airports. The following Irish airports provide data to the Central Statistics Office: Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Kerry, Knock, Waterford, Connemara, Donegal and Inishmore.

Galway and Sligo airports ceased operations in 2011. There have been no commercial flights in Waterford Airport since June 2016.

Data for the five main airports is supplied on a monthly basis. Data for regional airports is supplied annually to the Central Statistics Office.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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