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Record passenger numbers at Dublin Airport following expansion across carriers

By John Mulgrew

Dublin Airport had a record 28 million passengers last year, it has been announced.

The number increased by 11%, or 2.8 million people, over the course of the 12 months.

A spokesman for the airport said there had been significant growth across both its short-haul and long-haul links.

Dublin Airport managing director Vincent Harrison added: "Dublin Airport had a very strong performance in 2016.

"We had double-digit growth across all our largest market segments and welcomed new routes and new airline customers."

Short-haul traffic, which includes flights to and from the UK, was up 11%, with almost 24.3 million passengers.

Long-haul passenger numbers, meanwhile, increased by 12% to more than 3.6 million.

"The millions of extra passengers who passed through Dublin Airport helped deliver a record year for Irish tourism," Mr Harrison said. "Significant additional connectivity at the airport helps to boost business between Ireland and its trading partners and underpins increased foreign direct investment in Ireland.

"Over the past two years, passenger traffic at Dublin Airport has increased by 29%, which is equivalent to an extra 6.2 million passengers. Those extra passengers have created an estimated 5,200 additional jobs on the Dublin Airport campus."

It is likely the airport will see thousands more passengers from Northern Ireland this year, using Dublin to fly to New York after the end of the only direct transatlantic flight from Belfast.

However, the airport has yet to release the number of Northern Irish passengers for last year.

The airport said the growth in numbers was down to expansion across the majority of its largest airlines, including Aer Lingus.

Overall passenger traffic to and from Europe increased by 11% to 14.2 million in 2016.

The number of passengers travelling between Dublin and UK destinations also reached record levels last year. Overall, UK traffic increased by 12% to 9.9 million.

Dublin Airport is the fifth largest airport in Europe for connections to North America. It also has direct flights to 180 airports in 40 countries.

While transatlantic passenger numbers were steady at around 10% of the total traffic, the figures grew at the fastest rate.

Some 2.9 million passengers travelled between Dublin and the US and Canada - an 16% increase on the previous year.

Despite an increase in Dublin air traffic, Belfast International also saw the number of people passing through its arrivals and departures halls increase by more than 17% in the last year, with passenger numbers reaching a record 5.15 million.

However, the hub lost Northern Ireland's only transatlantic service after United Airlines announced it was pulling the plug.

The carrier was due to receive a £9m subsidy, two-thirds of it from the Executive.

George Best Belfast City Airport suffered a small drop in passenger numbers, falling 1.2% to 2.67 million. It blamed the dip on the loss of its connection to London Gatwick.

Increase in passenger numbers at the airport over the past two years, equivalent to an additional 6.2 million travellers

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