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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Aviation Statistics

Quarter 2 2018

Number of passengers handled by main Irish airports
 Quarter 2 January to June
 201712018% change201712018% change
Passengers9,359,71110,035,733+7.2 16,038,45516,975,813+5.8
1 Revised

Increase of 7.2% in number of passengers handled by main Irish airports in Quarter 2 2018

Figure 1: Passenger numbers handled by main Irish airports
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In the second quarter of 2018, ten million passengers passed through the five main airports, an increase of 7.2% over the same period in 2017. See table 1.

Passenger numbers increased in all five main airports. Dublin airport accounted for 85.3% of all air passengers in the second quarter of 2018.

In the first half of 2018, almost 17.0 million passengers (16,975,813) travelled through the main Irish airports, an increase of 5.8% compared with the same period in 2017.

The results also show that:

  • Almost 72,000 flights were handled by Ireland's five main airports in the second quarter of 2018. Dublin accounted for 83.3% of all flights (59,915) while Cork handled 7.6% of all flights (5,498). See table 3.
  • London- Heathrow, London-Gatwick and Amsterdam-Schiphol were the most popular routes for passengers travelling through Dublin airport in the second quarter of 2018. In Cork airport, the top three routes were London-Heathrow, London-Stansted and Malaga. 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 second quarter of 2018, almost nine out of every ten passengers (85.2%) 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 second quarter of 2018. See table 5.
  • Ireland's main airports handled a total of 41,605 tonnes of freight in the second quarter of 2018, the vast majority (93.7%) of which was international freight. See table 6.
  • When seasonally adjusted, there was a quarterly increase of 8.3% in the number of passengers that passed through the main airports in Quarter 2 of 2018 compared with Quarter 1 of 2018. See table 8.
Table 1: Number of passengers handled by main airports, Quarter 2 2016-2018
AirportQuarter 2January to June
2016201712018% change 2017-2018 2016201712018% change 2017-2018
Total8,814,2899,359,71110,035,733+7.2 15,233,33616,038,45516,975,813+5.8
1 Revised
Table 2: Passenger numbers classified by arrivals and departures handled by main airports
AirportQ2 2016Q2 20171Q2 2018
Total arrivals4,345,8984,601,5484,960,670
Total departures4,468,3914,758,1635,075,063
Total passengers8,814,2899,359,71110,035,733
1 Revised
Table 3: Number of flights classified by arrivals and departures handled by main airports, Quarter 2 2018
All flights5,49859,9159011,7733,86671,953
Table 4A: Top 10 arrivals and departures for Dublin airport by number of passengers, Quarter 2 2018
London - Heathrow238,277251,360489,637
London - Gatwick166,033165,384331,417
Amsterdam - Schiphol 154,828156,497311,325
London - Stansted114,058115,188229,246
Paris - Charles De Gaulle91,10792,748183,855
Table 4B: Top 10 arrivals and departures for Cork airport by number of passengers, Quarter 2 2018
London - Heathrow51,85254,403106,255
London - Stansted46,14246,23392,375
Amsterdam - Schiphol 19,22519,42138,646
London - Gatwick16,00216,09432,096
Paris - Charles De Gaulle14,53315,09629,629
Palma De Mallorca11,07512,52923,604
Table 4C: Top 10 arrivals and departures for Shannon airport by number of passengers, Quarter 2 2018
London - Heathrow33,67637,31970,995
London - Stansted25,89025,42851,318
New York - John F Kennedy18,98418,37437,358
London - Gatwick15,77815,75631,534
Boston - Logan13,22913,21726,446
Table 4D: Top 5 arrivals and departures for Knock airport by number of passengers, Quarter 2 2018
London - Stansted18,96121,45640,417
London - Luton19,51719,50139,018
London - Gatwick10,65010,81821,468
Liverpool - John Lennon9,83110,53120,362
East Midlands9,2949,67418,968
Table 4E: Top 5 arrivals and departures for Kerry airport by number of passengers, Quarter 2 2018
London - Luton14,85315,25930,112
London - Stansted10,48910,57021,059
Frankfurt - Hahn8,5098,37316,882
Table 5: Number of passengers classified by country of flight stage origin and destination handled by main airports, Quarter 2 2018
 Czech Republic25,47527,46952,944
 UK - England1,465,4901,510,4602,975,950
 UK - Northern Ireland06060
 UK - Scotland174,417175,076349,493
 UK - Wales15,31615,33630,652
 UK - Other8,7999,34118,140
 Total UK1,664,0221,710,2733,374,295
 Other 195,202209,597404,799
 Total Europe4,174,9674,336,0148,510,981
North AmericaCanada69,59769,546139,143
Total North America633,999602,0081,236,007
AfricaTotal Africa16,27015,26231,532
AsiaUnited Arab Emirates93,13081,494174,624
Total Asia113,376100,077213,453
Other1Total other560.560
All continents2 4,939,1725,053,3619,992,533
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 2 2018
National freight traffic01,32701,2912,618
International freight traffic1936,89742,06738,987
All freight1938,22443,35841,605
Table 7: Air freight classified by arrivals and departures handled by main airports, Quarter 2 2018
Arrivals - freight1219,49341,64921,158
Departures - freight718,73101,70920,447
All freight1938,22443,35841,605
Table 8: Seasonally adjusted number of passengers handled by main airports
AirportQ2 2017Q1 2018Q2 2018% change Q1 2018-Q2 2018
Total passengers8,501,1058,617,2499,330,894+8.3

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 2017, 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 four regional airports in Ireland are Donegal, Waterford, 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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