Belfast Telegraph

Dublin Airport flying high thanks to Northern Ireland influx

By Margaret Canning

Dublin Airport has said it is still experiencing "very strong growth" in passengers coming from Northern Ireland as it unveiled record numbers for July.

The airport has held high-profile marketing campaigns to attract travellers from the province and last year said there had been a 52% jump in Northern Ireland passengers to 864,000.

And while a spokesman said there were no exact figures for passengers from Northern Ireland for July, it had attracted a record 2.5m passengers during this month.

Managing director Vincent Harrison said: "This is a historic milestone for Dublin Airport, as we've never before welcomed 2.5m passengers in a single month

"Our passenger numbers are up more than 15% this month and we're seeing strong growth across all sectors of the market.

"July will be a record month for the airport in passenger terms and August is also expected to be very busy."

The Republic of Ireland scrapped its air passenger duty (APD) last year, but passengers flying out of Northern Ireland are still liable for the tax, at £26 on return flights to destinations in the UK and Europe.

In an interview last month with the Belfast Telegraph, Belfast International Airport managing director Graham Keddie said that it was in direct competition with Dublin in bids to attract routes to far-flung destinations like Toronto and Abu Dhabi.

"We're up against a state-supported, state-owned airport in Dublin, with all the backing of the Irish state, and that makes it much more difficult for us to compete in those markets.

"However, we will do our damnedest as a private company to go out there and try to do it."

Dublin Airport said that in the year so far, it has welcomed 3.7m passengers - an increase of 15% on last year.

It is expecting around 354,000 passengers this weekend - a bank holiday in the Republic.

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