Dublin airport passenger traffic to fall, says authority


THE DUBLIN Airport Authority expects passenger traffic at Dublin airport to decline by 3-4 per cent this year as consumers feel the effects of the recession. This could result in up to 940,000 fewer passengers using the capital’s airport in 2009.

The DAA said yesterday that a record 23.5 million passengers used Dublin airport last year, an increase of 1 per cent on 2007.

Passenger traffic rose by 5 per cent in the first half of the year, but declined by 3 per cent between July and December as the effects of the global credit crunch, rising fuel prices and the economic downturn here took hold.

Passenger numbers declined in each of the last four months of 2008. “Given the current economic climate, the outlook for 2009 remains difficult, and passenger numbers at Dublin airport are expected to decline in line with the contraction in Irish GDP,” the DAA said.

Traffic to the UK declined last year by 1 per cent to 8.6 million passengers, while the number of people using domestic routes fell by 5 per cent to 870,000.

Passenger traffic on other routes increased, with transatlantic flights leading the way with a 14 per cent rise to 1.8 million. This was driven by the Open Skies deal between the EU and the United States that allowed Aer Lingus to operate three new services last year.

Passenger volumes to other international destinations, such as the Middle East and Africa, increased by 8 per cent to more than 250,000 in 2008. European traffic increased by 1 per cent to about 12 million passengers.

Some 22 new routes were opened from Dublin airport in 2008.

Robert Hilliard, director of Dublin airport, said it was looking at ways of boosting traffic this year. “We have introduced a very attractive route and market support scheme for new long- and short-haul routes to encourage and stimulate growth to underdeveloped markets.

“Meanwhile, work continues apace on the construction of T2 [terminal 2] and an extension to the existing terminal is on schedule to open in May.”