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Aviation Statistics

Quarter 1 2019

Number of passengers handled by main Irish airports, Quarter 1 2017-2019
 Q1 2017Q1 2018Q1 2019% change Q1 2018-2019
Total passengers6,678,7446,939,8437,435,384+7.1

Increase of 7.1% in number of passengers handled by main Irish airports in Quarter 1 2019

Figure 1: Passenger numbers handled by main Irish airports
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In the first quarter of 2019, over 7.4 million passengers passed through the five main Irish airports, an increase of 7.1% over the same period in 2018. See table 1.

Passenger numbers increased in Cork, Dublin, Kerry and Knock, while passenger numbers decreased in Shannon. Dublin airport accounted for 87.2% of all air passengers handled in the first quarter of 2019.

The results also show that:

  • Almost 58,000 flights were handled by Ireland's five main airports in the first quarter of 2019. Dublin accounted for 84.9% of all flights (49,167) while Cork handled 7.5% of all flights (4,354). See table 3.
  • London- Heathrow, London-Gatwick and Amsterdam-Schiphol were the most popular routes for passengers travelling through Dublin airport in the first quarter of 2019. For Cork airport, the top three routes were London-Heathrow, London-Stansted and Amsterdam-Schiphol. The top route for Shannon was London-Heathrow, the top route for Knock was London-Stansted and the top route for Kerry was London-Luton. See tables 4A to 4E.
  • In the first quarter of 2019, almost nine out of every ten passengers (88.3%) on international flights in the five main airports were travelling to or from Europe. The two most popular countries of origin/destination were the United Kingdom and Spain. Outside of Europe, the United States of America was the most popular country of origin/destination in the first quarter of 2019. See table 5.
  • Ireland's main airports handled a total of 32,532 tonnes of freight in the first quarter of 2019, the vast majority (92.5%) of which was international freight. See table 6.
  • When seasonally adjusted, there was an increase in the number of passengers (+1.3%) that passed through the main airports in Quarter 1 of 2019 compared with Quarter 4 of 2018. See table 8.
Table 1: Number of passengers handled by main airports, Quarter 1 2017-2019
AirportQ1 2017Q1 20181Q1 2019% change Q1 2017-2018
Total passengers6,678,7446,939,8437,435,384+7.1
1 Minor revisions to some airports
Table 2: Passenger numbers classified by arrivals and departures handled by main airports
AirportQ1 2017Q1 20181Q1 2019
Total arrivals3,352,2383,456,5113,735,211
Total departures3,326,5063,483,3323,700,173
Total passengers6,678,7446,939,8437,435,384
1 Minor revisions to some airports
Table 3: Number of flights classified by arrivals and departures handled by main airports, Quarter 1 2019
All flights4,35449,1677471,2202,41757,905
Table 4A: Top 10 arrivals and departures for Dublin airport by number of passengers, Quarter 1 2019
London - Heathrow201,303207,834409,137
London - Gatwick173,478168,185341,663
Amsterdam - Schiphol 143,654143,329286,983
London - Stansted108,025106,548214,573
Paris - Charles De Gaulle91,63089,817181,447
Barcelona - El Prat69,36767,670137,037
Table 4B: Top 10 arrivals and departures for Cork airport by number of passengers, Quarter 1 2019
London - Heathrow42,21143,63785,848
London - Stansted38,23739,56677,803
Amsterdam - Schiphol 19,70520,49640,201
Paris - Charles De Gaulle15,97115,08731,058
London - Gatwick14,76814,49429,262
Liverpool - John Lennon9,7679,62819,395
London - Luton9,1138,35617,469
Table 4C: Top 10 arrivals and departures for Shannon airport by number of passengers, Quarter 1 2019
London - Heathrow28,09530,80958,904
London - Stansted25,29222,89348,185
London - Gatwick12,24812,32024,568
New York - John F Kennedy9,0038,65017,653
Warsaw Modlin5,0844,4669,550
Krakow - Balice4,7514,6899,440
Wroclaw - Strachowice4,7784,5149,292
Table 4D: Top 5 arrivals and departures for Knock airport by number of passengers, Quarter 1 2019
London - Stansted16,93319,26536,198
London - Luton11,98712,15424,141
Liverpool - John Lennon10,93011,51222,442
London - Gatwick8,0448,38116,425
East Midlands6,5417,07213,613
Table 4E: Top 3 arrivals and departures for Kerry airport by number of passengers, Quarter 1 2019
London - Luton11,42411,80923,233
London - Stansted8,9079,56818,475
Table 5: Number of passengers classified by country of flight stage origin and destination handled by main airports, Quarter 1 2019
 Czech Republic26,78126,26353,044
 UK - England1,326,0891,352,1732,678,262
 UK - Northern Ireland-235235
 UK - Scotland152,597155,020307,617
 UK - Wales14,98015,41430,394
 UK - Other4,3814,4568,837
 Total UK1,498,0471,527,2983,025,345
 Other 121,450113,329234,779
 Total Europe3,278,8463,254,6296,533,475
North AmericaCanada24,77125,08449,855
Total North America325,802322,403648,205
AfricaTotal Africa6,3746,09912,473
AsiaUnited Arab Emirates76,41371,127147,540
Total Asia103,90996,695200,604
Other1Total other3,5773,7007,277
All continents2 3,718,5083,683,5267,402,034
1 Due to residual coding errors some passengers cannot be assigned a country of flight origin/destination.
2 This figure refers to passengers on international flights only and excludes passengers on domestic flights.
Table 6: Air freight classified by national and international traffic handled by main airports, Quarter 1 2019
National freight traffic01,24101,1982,439
International freight traffic728,27831,80430,093
All freight729,51933,00232,532
Table 7: Air freight classified by arrivals and departures handled by main airports, Quarter 1 2019
Arrivals - freight216,40931,48717,902
Departures - freight613,11001,51414,630
All freight729,51933,00232,532
Table 8: Seasonally adjusted number of passengers handled by main airports
AirportQ1 2018Q4 2018Q1 2019% change Q4 2018-Q1 2019
Total passengers8,663,5369,397,2819,518,098+1.3

Background Notes


Statistics on Aviation are collected under Statutory Instrument (S.I.) No. 91 of 2014 - Statistics (carriage of passengers, freight and mail by air) Order 2013.

The data in this release provides details on the number of passengers classified by arrivals and departures, and by reference to national and international traffic; the number of flights by arrivals and departures and information on air freight and mail (in tonnes).  The release also highlights the top routes for each of the five main airports: Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry. In 2018, the top five airports represented 99.8% of all air passengers.

Data sources

Aviation statistics are compiled from data supplied by all Irish airports. The following Irish airports provide data to the Central Statistics Office: Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Kerry, Knock, Waterford, Connemara, Donegal and Inishmore. Galway and Sligo airports ceased operations in 2011. There have been no commercial flights in Waterford Airport since June 2016. Data for the five main airports is supplied on a monthly basis. Data for regional airports is supplied annually to the Central Statistics Office.

Seasonal adjustment

Seasonal adjustment for passenger numbers is conducted using a direct seasonal adjustment approach. However, the overall passenger totals are estimated using the indirect approach, i.e. the ‘Total passengers’ is derived by adding the monthly seasonally adjusted passenger numbers for each airport. The main reason for adopting the indirect approach is to attribute the monthly and annual changes in passenger numbers to each airport. Seasonal adjustment models are developed for each airport based on unadjusted data spanning from January 2012 to the current period. These models are reviewed on an annual basis; however seasonal factors are updated each quarter.

The adjustments are completed by applying the X-13-ARIMA model, developed by the U.S. Census Bureau to the unadjusted data.  This methodology estimates seasonal factors while also taking into consideration factors that impact on the quality of the seasonal adjustment such as:

• Calendar effects, e.g. the timing of Easter,

• Outliers, temporary changes and level shifts in the series. 

For additional information on the use of X-13-ARIMA see


Main airport: A main airport is defined as an airport through which in excess of 150,000 passengers fly per annum. The five main airports in Ireland are Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry.

Regional airport: A regional airport is defined as an airport through which less than 150,000 passengers fly per annum. The three regional airports in Ireland are Donegal, Connemara and Inishmore.

Scheduled flight: The term 'scheduled' in this release, refers to a commercial air service operated according to a published timetable, or with such a regular frequency that it constitutes an easily recognisable systematic series of flights.

Non-scheduled flight: The term 'non-scheduled' in this release, refers to a commercial air service other than scheduled air service e.g. chartered or private aircraft flights.

Direct transit passengers: These are passengers who, following a short stop, continue their journey on the same aircraft with the same flight number as the flight on which they arrived. These passengers are en route to another destination and generally do not disembark from their aircraft.

Transfer passengers: Transfer passengers or ‘connecting passengers’ are defined as passengers who make a stop at an airport without any purpose other than to board another aircraft to reach another destination. Unlike transit passengers, transfer passengers disembark the aircraft and pass through the airport en route to their connecting flight.

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