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International comparison:
Eurostat
For more information on this release:
E-mail: transport@cso.ie Noreen Dorgan +353 21 453 5260 Dr Nele van der Wielen +353 21 453 5379
For general information on CSO statistics:
information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-7581

This release was compiled during the COVID-19 pandemic. For further information see Press Statement Aviation Statistics Quarter 3 2021.

CSO statistical release, , 11am

Aviation Statistics

Quarter 3 2021

Number of passengers handled by main Irish airports
 Quarter 3% change Q3 2019-2021 January to September% change 2020-2021
 2019202020212019202012021
Total passengers11,597,2701,453,4393,576,734-69.2 29,512,4667,534,5604,591,845-39.1
1 Minor revisions to 2020 data

3,576,734 passengers handled by main Irish airports in Quarter 3 2021

Figure 1 Passenger numbers handled by main Irish airports, Quarter 3 2019-2021
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Air travel has been impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions. In the third quarter of 2021, 3.6 million passengers (3,576,734) passed through the five main Irish airports, an increase of 2.1 million passengers when compared with the same period in 2020 but down by 69.2% compared with Q2 2019. See tables 1A and 1B.

In the first nine months of 2021, almost 4.6 million passengers (4,591,845) travelled through the main Irish airports, a drop of 2.9 million passengers (2,942,715) and a fall of 24.9 million (24,920,621) compared with the same period in 2019.

Dublin airport accounted for 89.5% of all air passengers handled in the third quarter of 2021.

The results also show that:

  • Over 32,600 flights were handled by Ireland's five main airports in the third quarter of 2021. Dublin accounted for 87.6% of all flights (32,647) while Cork handled 4.7% of all flights (1,533). See tables 3A and 3B.
  • Amsterdam-Schiphol, London-Heathrow and Malaga were the most popular routes for passengers travelling through Dublin airport in the third quarter of 2021. The top route for Cork airport was London-Heathrow, the top route for Shannon airport was London-Stansted while London-Luton was the top route for both Kerry and Knock airports. See tables 4A to 4C.
  • In the third quarter of 2021, over nine out of every ten passengers (92.5%) 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 third quarter of 2021. See table 5.
  • Ireland's main airports handled a total of 39,272 tonnes of freight in the third quarter of 2021, the vast majority (92.0%) of which was international freight. See table 6.

Seasonally adjusting the Aviation data series during the COVID-19 crisis period will be challenging until the scale and shape of its impact on the time series is better understood. The initial seasonally adjusted results might be revised for some months ahead as future observations become available. Users should be aware that there is increased uncertainty around the seasonally adjusted figures during this period.

Table 1A: Number of passengers1 handled by main airports, Quarter 3 2019-2021
AirportQuarter 3January to September
201920202021% change 2019-2021 201920202021% change 2020-2021
Dublin29,852,3691,270,4113,202,965-67.525,290,2696,565,1314,162,629-36.6
Cork832,19890,287133,904-83.92,035,043495,553167,755-66.1
Shannon2536,69745,505125,294-76.71,275,006261,853137,905-47.3
Knock259,98827,51369,145-73.4624,990135,48471,841-47.0
Kerry116,01819,96845,426-60.8 287,15876,53951,715-32.4
Total11,597,2701,453,6843,576,734-69.2 29,512,4667,534,5604,591,845-39.1
1 Passenger numbers refer to commercial passengers only. Transit passengers are included and are counted twice (i.e. both as arriving and departing passengers).
2 Minor revisions to data for Q3 2020
Table 1B: Number of passengers1 classified by month handled by main airports
201920202021% change 2019-2021
AirportJulAugSep JulAugSep JulAugSep JulAugSep
Cork296,876296,799238,52327,63139,95122,70532,00173,73528,168-89.2-75.2-88.2
Dublin3,430,8593,399,7143,021,796374,443509,9102386,058638,9781,233,2191,330,768-81.4-63.7-56.0
Kerry40,68039,61735,7216,5288,3375,1035,38020,81119,235-86.8-47.5-46.2
Knock88,78194,90776,3008,07213,7075,7349,50525,30734,333-89.3-73.3-55.0
Shannon183,398187,029166,27014,607219,87111,02723,85947,54053,895-87.0-74.6-67.6
Total 4,040,5944,018,0663,538,610 431,0362591,7762430,627 709,7231,400,6121,466,399 -82.4-65.1-58.6
1 Passenger numbers refer to commercial passengers only. Transit passengers are included and are counted twice (i.e. both as arriving and departing passengers).
2 Minor revisions to data
X-axis label201920202021
July4040594431036709723
August40180665917761400612
September35386104306271466399
Table 2: Passenger1 numbers classified by arrivals and departures handled by main airports
   Number
AirportQ3 2019Q3 2020Q3 2021
Arrivals   
Cork422,80844,86667,217
Dublin24,963,844639,3081,612,370
Kerry57,8899,69622,048
Knock130,52013,29033,229
Shannon2267,06022,67961,838
Total arrivals25,842,121729,8391,796,702
   
Departures   
Cork409,39045,42166,687
Dublin24,888,525631,1031,590,595
Kerry58,12910,27223,378
Knock129,46814,22335,916
Shannon269,63722,82663,456
Total departures25,755,149723,8451,780,032
   
All   
Cork832,19890,287133,904
Dublin29,852,3691,270,4113,202,965
Kerry116,01819,96845,426
Knock259,98827,51369,145
Shannon2536,69745,505125,294
Total passengers211,597,2701,453,6843,576,734
1 Passenger numbers refer to commercial passengers only. Transit passengers are included and are counted twice (i.e. both as arriving and departing passengers).
2 Minor revisions to data for Q3 2020
Table 3A: Number of flights classified by arrivals and departures handled by main airports, Quarter 3 2021
FlightsCorkDublinKerryKnockShannonTotal
Arrivals76714,28324227872916,299
Departures76614,31824227974316,348
All flights1,53328,6014845571,47232,647
Table 3B: Number of flights classified by month handled by main airports
 2019 2020 2021 % change 2019-2021
AirportJulAugSepQ3 JulAugSepQ3 JulAugSepQ3 JulAugSepQ3
Cork2,2612,2831,9916,535 5327304731,735 5267262811,533 -76.7-68.2-85.9-76.5
Dublin122,11022,12520,94365,178 5,9287,6166,44819,992 7,56310,10710,93128,601 -65.8-54.3-47.8-56.1
Kerry3633313181,012 246256182684 66198220484 -81.8-40.2-30.8-52.2
Knock6336566081,897 17825882518 108182267557 -82.9-72.3-56.1-70.6
Shannon11,4101,3981,3664,174 4234903441,257 4434965331,472 -68.6-64.5-61.0-64.7
Total126,77726,79325,22678,796 7,3079,3507,52924,186 8,70611,70912,23232,647 -67.5-56.3-51.5-58.6
1 Minor revisions to data for Q3 2020
Table 4A: Top 10 arrivals and departures for Dublin airport by number of passengers, Quarter 3 2010
   Number
 ArrivalsDeparturesTotal
Amsterdam - Schiphol 68,39563,275131,670
London - Heathrow59,58664,523124,109
Malaga56,94060,673117,613
London - Stansted54,17956,265110,444
London - Gatwick52,58853,656106,244
Faro49,93452,970102,904
Manchester38,69640,38179,077
Frankfurt - Main40,06935,88575,954
Paris - Charles De Gaulle34,86433,79068,654
Barcelona34,41834,10668,524
Table 4B: Top 3 arrivals and departures for Cork airport by number of passengers, Quarter 3 2021
   Number
 ArrivalsDeparturesTotal
London - Heathrow10,30610,66120,967
London - Stansted9,2019,76318,964
Malaga6,4866,89613,382
Amsterdam - Schiphol 6,7946,05112,845
London - Luton5,5555,06510,620
Faro4,9355,16810,103
Wroclaw - Strachowice3,2503,2536,503
Palma de Mallorca3,2303,2056,435
Paris - Charles de Gaulle3,1722,8326,004
Alicante2,6962,7825,478
Table 4C: Top 10 arrivals and departures for Shannon airport by number of passengers, Quarter 3 2021
   Number
 ArrivalsDeparturesTotal
London - Stansted14,54014,60729,147
London - Gatwick5,7765,39111,167
Wroclaw - Strachowice3,8893,7177,606
Warsaw - Modlin3,9033,3967,299
Kaunas3,6163,3436,959
Krakow - Balice3,5013,3916,892
Alicante3,1483,4086,556
Lanzarote2,8233,5726,395
Malaga2,9173,2776,194
Faro2,6653,0175,682
Table 4D: Top 10 arrivals and departures for Knock airport by number of passengers, Quarter 3 2021
   Number
 ArrivalsDeparturesTotal
London - Luton7,7047,86115,565
Liverpool - John Lennon6,5956,83313,428
London - Stansted6,0076,52812,535
Faro2,8903,4356,325
Alicane2,4832,9165,399
Bristol233025414871
East Midlands123212072439
Malaga115212442396
Manchester8499711820
Edinburgh7088291537
Table 4E: Top 5 arrivals and departures for Kerry airport by number of passengers, Quarter 3 2021
   Number
 ArrivalsDeparturesTotal
London - Luton7,3757,38314,758
London - Stansted4,6114,5959,206
Dublin2,9453,5366,481
Alicante2,6232,9305,553
Manchester2,4362,4734,909
Table 5: Number of passengers classified by country of flight stage origin and destination handled by main airports, Quarter 3 2021
ContinentCountryArrivalsDeparturesTotal
EuropeAustria12,63911,89224,531
 Belgium22,89922,40045,299
 Bulgaria10,69110,39621,087
 Croatia17,99917,77935,778
 Czech Republic7,5187,19514,713
 Denmark15,41813,95729,375
 Finland2,7822,6055,387
 France101,12597,908199,033
 Germany94,19985,469179,668
 Greece43,77046,23290,002
 Hungary15,57214,89830,470
 Iceland2,6682,2614,929
 Italy100,31097,112197,422
 Latvia14,33613,57027,906
 Lithuania26,71824,90951,627
 Netherlands77,83471,764149,598
 Poland103,10098,726201,826
 Portugal103,601109,033212,634
 Romania35,28429,99265,276
 Slovakia5,9135,60211,515
 Spain299,453314,188613,641
 Sweden9,3399,35818,697
 Switzerland17,66915,86233,531
 Turkey27,17424,58651,760
 UK - England398,529418,069816,598
 UK - Scotland40,15344,75584,908
 UK - Other43459493
 Total UK439,116462,883901,999
 Other 37,92735,22773,154
 Total Europe1,645,0541,645,8043,290,858
   
North AmericaCanada7,2217,17614,397
USA102,65094,776197,426
Other13-13
Total North America109,884101,952211,836
   
AfricaTotal Africa2,5982,0914,689
   
AsiaUnited Arab Emirates19,56014,95134,511
Other10,7966,08616,882
 Total Asia30,35621,03751,393
   
Other1Total other403389792
   
All continents2 1,788,2951,771,2733,559,568
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 3 2021
     Tonnes
TrafficCorkDublinKnockShannonTotal
National freight traffic01,93701,1873,125
International freight traffic38133,97311,79236,147
All freight38135,91012,97939,272
Table 7: Air freight classified by arrivals and departures handled by main airports, Quarter 3 2021
     Tonnes
TrafficCorkDublinKnockShannonTotal
Arrivals - freight23518,98511,64320,864
Departures - freight14616,92501,33618,407
All freight38135,91012,97939,272
Table 8: Seasonally adjusted number of passengers handled by main airports
AirportQ3 2020Q2 2021Q3 2021% change Q2 2021-Q3 2021
Dublin1,052,261504,4622,699,125435.1
Cork70,03421,093103,206389.3
Shannon33,6797,99695,5341,094.8
Knock19,4531,65552,7703,088.5
Kerry15,9353,62836,370902.5
Total passengers1,191,362538,8342,987,005454.3

Background Notes

Introduction

Statistics on Aviation are collected under Statutory Instrument (S.I.) No. 10 of 2020 - Statistics (carriage of passengers, freight and mail by air) Order 2020.

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 2020, the top five airports represented 99.6% 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.

Coherence 

The statistics in this release are not fully coherent with the Air and Sea Travel statistics. The differences in passenger numbers which are typically less than 0.5%, arise because the Air and Sea Travel statistics exclude transit passengers, domestic air travel and flights to Northern Ireland. It should be noted that passenger numbers for Shannon and Dublin airports exclude transit passengers on technical transit flights as these are fuel stop only flights.

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. 

Seasonally adjusting the Aviation data series during the COVID-19 crisis period will be challenging until the scale and shape of its impact on the time series is better understood. The initial seasonally adjusted results might be revised for some months ahead as future observations become available. Users should be aware that there is increased uncertainty around the seasonally adjusted figures during this period. 

For additional information on the use of X-13-ARIMA see https://www.census.gov/srd/www/winx13/

Definitions

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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