Passenger numbers grew at all the Republic’s airports except Shannon in the first three months of this year, official figures show.
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport data show the number of passengers travelling through Cork, Dublin and the three regional airports – Donegal, Kerry and Knock – increased in the first quarter of 2019.
However, passenger numbers fell 5.1 per cent at Shannon in the first quarter to 301,641 from 317,847 during the same period in 2018.
The numbers show that Shannon’s passenger traffic fell 2.38 per cent to 101,604 in January, 1.74 per cent to 90,968 in February and 10 per cent to 109,069 in March.
The first three months of the year are traditionally the weakest for air travel. No one from the airport's owner, State-owned Shannon Group, was available to comment on Thursday. It is due to host US president Donald Trump when he visits the Republic next month.
The airport faces further difficulties as nine weekly Norwegian Air flights, to Providence, Rhode Island and Stewart International Airport in New York state, remain suspended, as the Boeing 737 Max, due to operate the routes, stays grounded over safety concerns.
Just over two million people travelled through Dublin in January and February
An Air Canada service from Shannon to Toronto is suspended for the same reason.
Ireland's biggest airport, Dublin, owned by State company DAA, hosted the largest number of passengers, up 7.57 per cent to 6.53 million in the first quarter from 6.07 million in the same months of 2018.
Just over two million people travelled through Dublin in January and February, which was up 5.14 per cent and 8.68 per cent respectively. Traffic rose 8.78 per cent in March to 2.45 million.
DAA’s other airport, Cork, grew at the fastest pace, recording a 10.7 per cent increase in passenger numbers to 475,095 in the first three months, from 429,275 during the same period in 2018.
January traffic rose 8.77 per cent to 149,268, February traffic rose 10.15 per cent to 150,798, and March passenger numbers grew 12.8 per cent to 175,029.
A DAA spokesman predicted further growth at both gateways this year “as Dublin Airport has 23 new services while Cork Airport is adding eight new routes”.
Passenger numbers at Donegal Regional Airport rose 6.16 per cent to 9,062 in the first quarter. Traffic grew 4.84 per cent to 68,606 at Kerry Airport while at Knock Airport in Co Mayo it increased 8.67 per cent to 142,713.