Ireland’s two busiest airports – Dublin and Cork – welcomed a combined 3 million passengers during October, according to airport operator daa.
The bulk of the total was, unsurprisingly, at Dublin, where 2.8 million passengers flew in and out of last month. But, Cork Airport still saw 25% passenger growth last month, with 253,000 passengers passing through.
The month was buoyed by tens of thousands of rugby fans travelling back and forth to France for the Rugby World Cup.
The busiest day of travel at Dublin Airport in October was Sunday, September, October 8 as thousands of Irish rugby fans made their way back from watching Ireland defeat Scotland in Paris. While the Dublin-Paris route was busy during the month, the most popular destination in October was once again London Heathrow, with the route remaining one of the busiest in Europe.
Meanwhile, over 253,000 passengers flew to and from Cork Airport during October. Along with the commencement of several winter schedule services, Ireland’s second busiest airport saw a 23% increase in passenger traffic compared with October 2022. A significant amount of Irish rugby fans also headed to France from Cork Airport, which offered the best connectivity with the French capital that was available outside of Dublin.
According to Kenny Jacobs, CEO of daa: “The Ireland rugby team arrived home a few weeks earlier than we’d have hoped, but they generated a huge level of excitement and our terminals at both Dublin and Cork airports were a sea of green jerseys each weekend in the early part of October.
“The number of fans travelling to France from Dublin Airport were amongst the highest we’ve ever seen travelling to support Ireland at a major sporting event. October also saw many families escaping the miserable wet weather in Ireland with an autumn trip to the sun, with our routes to the Canaries, southern Spain and Portugal proving very popular. That’s likely to continue through November and we’re seeing a lot of interest in our North America routes too as people seek some Florida sunshine or early Christmas shopping in New York.”
Mr Jacobs said next year is shaping up to be another successful one for both airports:
“We’re looking forward to a busy Christmas period at Dublin Airport and we’ve a firm eye on 2024 also, with discussions underway with our airline partners regarding their schedules for next spring, summer and beyond, ensuring that passenger numbers for the year will remain below the 32 million level.”
“Central to Dublin Airport’s ability to meet the demands of passengers and our airline partners in the years ahead will be permission to grow Dublin Airport further to meet Ireland’s demand for international travel. daa will submit an application to Fingal County Council shortly to grow beyond the current 32 million cap in order to support the population increase and continue to enable new jobs growth and connectivity for Ireland.
“Until planning permission to grow beyond 32 million is granted, daa will continue to manage the passenger capacity through the terminals at Dublin Airport to ensure that current planning restrictions are not breached.”
Regarding Cork Airport’s growth, Mr Jacobs said: “Cork Airport saw a 23% increase in passenger traffic during October, compared with the same month in 2022. That’s solid growth and was boosted by thousands from across Munster and south Leinster heading off to the sun; the flood of Irish fans heading off to France for the rugby and the large numbers who came to Cork for the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival over the recent bank holiday weekend.
“Cork’s route network continues to grow, and passengers have reacted well to new routes such as Barcelona El-Prat and Paris Beauvais, which commenced in recent days. I’m sure they will prove to be very popular with passengers from across the south of Ireland as they seek new and exciting destinations for short European city breaks over the winter months.”