Following the Government's decision to sell the State's 25.1 per cent stake in Aer Lingus to International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), it has emerged that Dublin Airport is one of Europe's leading hubs for transatlantic traffic.
Figures published by online industry newsletter Anna Aero show Dublin is Europe's fifth-largest transatlantic airport, with 41,682 seats a week. It is behind Heathrow (251,000), Paris Charles de Gaulle (130,000), Frankfurt (115,000) and Amsterdam (80,000).
Those four are all well-established international airports, led by Heathrow, which last year handled 75 million passengers. About 60 million travellers passed through Paris and Frankfurt in 2014, while 55 million people used Amsterdam. Given their size, it's no surprise Dublin comes in behind them. However, it is ahead of Madrid, which is offering 34,000 seats a week across the Atlantic this summer; Rome (40,200); and Istanbul (26,400).
Madrid and Istanbul are both in the Airport Council International's list of the world's top 30 airports and are substantial international hubs. In addition, Madrid has links with Latin America that are similar to this country's connections with the US , and so enjoys a powerful position on south Atlantic routes.
All this indicates that on transatlantic routes Dublin is outperforming not just peers but also top-tier airports. Its success in this is one reason IAG wanted to buy Aer Lingus in the first place.
There was general agreement last week that IAG’s takeover of the Irish airline would ensure Dublin continued to grow in this and other markets. There is no ultimate guarantee of this. However, the Government has shown through its decision to axe travel tax that it can still play an influential role in ensuring Irish airports remain attractive to all airlines.