Dublin Airport saw record number of passenger journeys in 2016

New report on transport trends also shows increased business on bus and rail services

Dublin Airport saw a record 27.8 million passenger journeys in 2016, according to the latest statistics on transport trends, which were published on Friday.

The figure is understood to be driven by a resurgent Irish economy and record numbers of tourists - the latter facilitated by significant increases in transatlantic flights.

The data shows that Dublin Airport continues to be by far the most dominant airport in the State - seeing the vast bulk of the State’s 32.8 million airport passenger journeys last year.

The figure of 32.8 million is 10.3 per cent ahead of the total for 2015.


Bus and rail services have also experienced continued growth in business in recent years, with 10 million extra passenger journeys on such services in 2015 and a high uptake of integrated ticketing.

The data shows that payment transactions by Leap card grew from 12.6 million in 2012 to more than 82 million in 2016.

The statistics, compiled using a variety of sources, are included in the Transport Trends 2017 report.

They indicate increases in numbers of users across all main transport modes in recent years.

In addition, they show that the amount of the State’s road network classified as motorway has increased to 17.3 per cent of national level roads.

The State’s ports system has also got busier in recent years. The data shows the number of vessels arriving at the ports, the gross tonnage of those vessels and the gross tonnage of goods handled continued to rise in 2015.

The report reveals some black spots. Emissions from the transport sector grew in 2015 to 11.8 million tonnes, despite a decrease in the average emissions of new vehicles in the same period.

Private cars

The report shows that almost three out of every four journeys were made by private car in 2016. Trips taken by bus accounted for 4.2 per cent of all journeys last year, and rail/Dart/Luas journeys for 1.3 per cent.

Walking represented 14.6 per cent of all journeys, with cycling at 1.7 per cent.

The longest average journeys in the State were in the midlands, at almost 21km each. The shortest were in Dublin, at 9.8km.

The report also shows the total number of bikes provided through four public bike schemes in 2015 was 2,240. The schemes are in place in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick.

The number of journeys on the bike service in Dublin increased by 7 per cent in 2016 to 4.4 million.

The data shows there were 402 electric vehicles registered in the State in 2016 - down from 488 the previous year.

Levels of road-freight activity continued to grow by a small amount in 2015, while levels of rail-freight activity showed a decline.

Aviation freight also showed strong growth in 2015, with a 7.7 per cent increase in air freight handled at the main airports.

The report notes that transport investment has decreased significantly since 2008, with the State investing “less than it historically has, less as a proportion of GDP than other Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development states and less than the estimated level to maintain the current system”.

It also identifies Brexit as a possible dampener of growth in the sector.

Following the report’s publication, Minister for Transport Shane Ross noted the sustained growth of the transport sector in recent years.

However, he said the sector faced challenges, including the potential impact of Brexit on the movement of goods and services to and from Ireland.

The full report is available online.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist