Ireland is EU’s largest importer of aircraft

Figures show 53% of bloc’s aircraft imports last year went to Ireland

Ireland ranked as the largest importer of aircraft in the EU last year, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the total.

Eurostat figures show EU member states imported 533 large aircraft from non-EU countries in 2018, worth €21.9 billion.

A total of 284 (53 per cent) were imported by Ireland, underscoring the State’s status as a global hub for aircraft leasing.

The figures made Ireland by far the largest EU importer of large aircraft from the rest of the world, ahead of Poland (37 large planes; 7 per cent of total extra-EU imports of large aircraft); the UK (34 and 6 per cent ); and Germany (32 and 6 per cent), Eurostat said.


According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), there were about 4,000 commercial aircraft leased through companies here last year, representing a total value of $115 billion.

Recent changes to accounting conventions mean the purchases of aircraft are included as imports in the national accounts compiled by the CSO.

The Eurostat figures indicate almost two-thirds of large aircraft imports from non-EU countries came from the United States (329 large planes, or 62 per cent of extra-EU imports of large planes).

On the export side, EU states exported 963 large aircraft, worth €47.7 billion, outside of the EU in 2018. The number of exported large aircraft to non-EU countries increased by 27 per cent compared with 2013.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times