Dublin Airport is closing in on 30m passengers for 2017

Cantillon: Brexit the only cloud in the sky at Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport is edging ever closer to the 30 million passenger mark. In July, a record 3.12 million people travelled through there, while a total of 16.9 million used it in the first seven months of this year.

That figure does not include a busy August weekend. Along with that, there is still a month of the peak holiday season left. The likelihood is that in a few weeks time Dublin will be reporting that it handled around 20 million people in the first eight months of 2017.

Traffic has been growing there at around 7 per cent this year. Given that 2016’s total was 28 million, a back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that continued expansion at this rate should put it within hailing distance of 30 million for 2017.

You won’t need an envelop to work out that Brexit is the one thing most likely to take some of the heat out of all this. While all other markets grew strongly, the UK, responsible for 9.93 million passengers last year, was flat.


An increase in outward bound Irish travellers to Britain hid an actual fall in the number of people travelling from the neighbouring island to here. There is no real surprise there. Kevin Toland, chief executive of Dublin Airport's owner DAA, recently said that the number of people flying in from Britain had fallen like a stone this year.

Nevertheless, DAA can take a lot of heart from the current figures. North American business grew 18 per cent in July to 404,000. Dublin's biggest market, continental Europe, grew 7 per cent to 1.7 million. Passengers to and from other international destinations were up 8 per cent.

Airline group, the International Air Transport Association, calculates that worldwide passenger numbers grew 6.3 per cent last year, and are continuing to expand. Dublin is either in line or ahead of this trend in most markets.

Brexit will be a negative and already it appears that British travellers are in retreat, but so far that appears not to have slowed Dublin Airport’s march.