2.1 Changing role and character of Dublin Airport

Closeddate_range3 Sep, 2019, 9:00am - 15 Oct, 2019, 5:00pm

Dublin Airport has been evolving continuously since it first opened in 1940 with just one flight a day to Liverpool. The Old Central Terminal Building is located to the north of the current day airport terminals, retaining many internal design features. Since the time of that first flight Dublin Airport has developed incrementally into a large modern facility which competes at an international level. With the opening of Terminal 2 (T2) in 2010, Dublin Airport has developed as a hub16, primarily for flights travelling between Europe and the United States. In the same period, significant growth has occurred in transatlantic passenger traffic. Since its opening, T2 has taken on the role of the gateway for flights to North America from Ireland. Importantly, Dublin Airport benefits from being able to offer United States border pre-clearance services for U.S. bound passengers which allow passengers to exit via domestic arrivals and avoid long queues when they reach the US.17


Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport have increased by 45% from 21.7 million in 2014 to 31.5 million in 2018, making it one of the fastest-growing large airports in Europe during that period and moving into the top tier of European airports. In 2018, Dublin Airport was the 11th largest airport within the European Union and the 15th largest airport in Europe.18


The Airport has developed an extensive short and medium haul network, served by an array of carriers, as well as a significant long-haul network focused on North America, the Middle East and East Asia. Dublin Airport has flights to almost 200 destinations in 43 countries, operated by over 56 airlines. It serves as the headquarters of Aer Lingus and Ryanair.


Approximately 29.4 million passengers started and ended their journey at Dublin Airport in 201819, while a further 2.1 million passengers used the Airport as a hub20. Short-haul traffic increased by 5% to 26.5 million, while long-haul passenger numbers increased by 15% to 5 million. Passenger growth in 2018 was reinforced by a strong performance from transatlantic and other long-haul routes in conjunction with strong growth in continental European passenger traffic and the continued expansion of Dublin Airport as a significant gateway between North America and Europe. Transatlantic traffic has doubled since 2014. Transfer passenger numbers increased by 18% to 1.8 million in 2018. Transfer traffic is predominantly Europe to US, with Dublin now the sixth largest airport in Europe for traffic to North America. A further 240,000 passengers transited21 through Dublin in 201822.

Table 2.0 Dublin Airport Passenger Destinations & Passenger Numbers 2018



Continental Europe

16.3 million


10.1 million

Transatlantic Traffic (North America)

4 million

Asia/Middle East and Africa

1 million

Source - Based on information as per www.daa.ie
  • 16 - Hub - a convenient airport location whereby passengers can change aircraft to get to their final destination.
  • 17 - Departing passengers on US bound flights are required to process through the US Preclearance facility located on the ground level of Pier 4 connected to T2.
  • 18 - Data Centre-Airport Council International [ACI] 2018.
  • 19 - Origin-destination passengers.
  • 20 - Connecting passengers.
  • 21 - Passengers passed through the Airport but did not change planes.
  • 22www.daa.ie.