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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Air and Sea Travel Statistics

March 2020

DirectionMarch January-March
20192020Change 20192020Change
Arrivals1,465.9635.0-831.0-56.7% 3,866.43,085.2-781.2-20.2%
Departures1,436.6602.1-834.5-58.1% 3,839.33,045.3-794.1-20.7%

Overseas arrivals decreased 56.7% in March 2020

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March 2020 saw a substantial fall in overseas travel to and from Ireland as the COVID-19 crisis progressed. There were 635,000 arrivals in March 2020 and 602,100 departures. This compares with monthly travel of more than 1.4 million in each direction in March 2019. Arrivals in March 2020 were 56.7% below the corresponding 2019 figure; departures were down by 58.1% (See Table 1A).

The fall in March also impacted the first quarter totals. Arrivals and departures in Q1 2020 were 20.2% and 20.7% respectively lower than in Q1 2019 (See Table 2).

Of the 635,000 persons arriving in Ireland, 603,600 (95.1%) arrived by air and 31,300 (4.9%) arrived by sea. Of the 602,100 persons departing Ireland, 575,600 (95.6%) departed by air and 26,500 (4.4%) departed by sea (See Table 1A).

Of those arriving in Ireland in March 2020, 273,100 (43.0%) came by cross-channel routes, 271,900 (42.8%) by continental routes, 59,900 (9.4%) by transatlantic routes and 29,900 (4.7%) by other overseas routes. The corresponding figures for those departing Ireland were 258,900 (43.0%), 258,900 (43.0%), 62,200 (10.3%) and 22,200 (3.7%) respectively (See Table 1A).

The most popular staging countries for persons travelling overseas to Ireland were Great Britain (272,300), Spain (67,600) and the United States (54,400). These countries were also the most popular staging countries for persons travelling overseas from Ireland, accounting for 257,900, 50,600 and 54,600 persons respectively (See Table 1A).

On balance, there was a net inflow of 32,900 persons to Ireland. The staging country making the greatest contribution to the net inflow was Spain. Some 17,000 more persons arrived from Spain than departed for Spain. The staging country showing the greatest net outflow was Germany. Departures for Germany exceeded arrivals by 4,100 persons (See Table 1A).

Compared to the same month of the previous year, the staging country showing the most notable decrease in traffic was Italy. Arrivals from Italy decreased by 88.6% whereas departures for Italy deceased by 87.8% (See Table 1A).

For the year-to-date (January-March 2020), 3,085,200 persons arrived in Ireland from overseas and 3,045,300 persons departed. These represent decreases of 20.2% and 20.7% respectively compared to the same period in 2019 (See Table 2).

The year 2019 was a record year for persons travelling to and from Ireland by oversea routes. In 2019, some 20,143,700 persons arrived in Ireland from overseas routes, whereas 20,205,300 departed Ireland on overseas routes (See Table 3).

The collection of Tourism Statistics at air and sea ports was suspended in March 2020, to protect CSO enumerators and the travelling public. As a result, the details of travel to Ireland classified by country of residence, which are presented in the monthly Overseas Travel release, are not currently being collected and that release has been temporarily suspended.To help fill the data gap, the CSO is publishing this new Air and Sea Travel Statistics release which reports on the numbers of overseas travellers arriving and departing Ireland classified by travel route. The information is compiled primarily from statistics provided by the DAA, together with data from other air and sea ports. The CSO intends to continue publishing this Air and Sea Travel Statistics release for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis.


Table 1A: Overseas arrivals and departures by mode and route, March 2019 and 2020000's
Arrivals Departures
20192020Change 20192020Change
Air1,400.5603.6-796.9-56.9% 1,375.4575.6-799.7-58.1%
Sea65.431.3-34.1-52.1% 61.326.5-34.8-56.8%
Great Britain610.2272.3-337.9-55.4% 601.5257.9-343.5-57.1%
Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey1.70.8-0.8-50.0% 1.71.0-0.7-42.1%
Cross-Channel611.9273.1-338.8-55.4% 603.1258.9-344.2-57.1%
Belgium23.38.3-15.0-64.4% 23.28.8-14.4-62.1%
Germany104.336.1-68.3-65.4% 102.240.2-61.9-60.6%
Spain137.267.6-69.5-50.7% 138.250.6-87.6-63.4%
France87.832.6-55.2-62.9% 85.734.2-51.5-60.1%
Italy48.65.6-43.1-88.6% 47.85.8-42.0-87.8%
Netherlands63.127.2-35.9-57.0% 62.526.5-36.1-57.7%
Poland40.119.1-21.0-52.4% 39.619.3-20.2-51.2%
Portugal26.115.8-10.3-39.5% 27.313.5-13.8-50.5%
Other EU2794.643.6-51.0-53.9% 9344.1-48.9-52.6%
EU27 Total625.2255.8-369.3-59.1% 619.4243.0-376.4-60.8%
Switzerland20.58.3-12.2-59.7% 19.97.8-12.1-60.8%
Other Europe187.9-10.1-56.3% 17.18.0-9.0-52.8%
Continental663.6271.9-391.7-59.0% 656.3258.9-397.5-60.6%
United States133.054.4-78.5-59.1% 126.454.6-71.7-56.8%
Other Transatlantic10.45.5-4.8-46.8% 10.67.6-3.0-28.6%
Transatlantic143.359.9-83.4-58.2% 137.062.2-74.8-54.6%
United Arab Emirates26.319.0-7.3-27.6% 22.013.7-8.2-37.5%
Other Destinations20.810.9-9.9-47.6% 18.38.4-9.8-53.8%
Other Routes47.129.9-17.2-36.5% 40.222.2-18.1-44.9%
All1,465.9635.0-831.0-56.7% 1,436.6602.1-834.5-58.1%
Table 1B: Overseas arrivals and departures by mode and route, February 2019 and 2020000's
CategoryArrivals Departures
 20192020Change  20192020Change
Air1,142.41,171.729.32.6% 1,139.11,161.922.82.0%
Sea44.943.4-1.5-3.3% 42.041.4-0.6-1.4%
Great Britain526.8532.65.91.1% 525.8528.42.60.5%
Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey1.
Cross-Channel528.2534.26.01.1% 527.2530.02.80.5%
Belgium20.019.7-0.3-1.3% 19.419.2-0.2-1.1%
Germany81.875.7-6.0-7.4% 77.972.7-5.2-6.7%
Spain107.5110.12.62.4% 109.9113.83.93.6%
France62.864.21.42.2% 60.663.12.54.2%
Italy43.943.8-0.1-0.2% 43.642.5-1.1-2.5%
Netherlands54.956.92.03.7% 54.655.00.40.7%
Poland35.641.35.715.9% 35.941.75.816.1%
Other EU2779.484.55.06.3% 80.384.54.25.3%
EU27 Total506.1522.015.93.1% 503.2519.416.23.2%
Switzerland16.917.91.06.0% 16.917.91.06.0%
Other Europe14.714.0-0.7-4.9% 14.213.4-0.8-5.7%
Continental537.7553.916.23.0% 534.3550.716.43.1%
United States76.980.94.05.2% 75.879.53.74.9%
Other Transatlantic6. 6.76.7-0.1-0.9%
Transatlantic83.487.84.45.3% 82.586.23.74.4%
United Arab Emirates21.224.53.315.4% 20.822.72.09.4%
Other Destinations16.714.7-2.0-11.9% 16.313.7-2.6-16.2%
Other Routes37.939.21.33.3% 37.136.4-0.7-1.8%
All1,187.31, 1,181.11,203.322.21.9%
Table 1C: Overseas arrivals and departures by mode and route, January 2019 and 2020000's
Arrivals Departures
20192020Change 20192020Change
Air1,174.61, 1,169.31,183.514.21.2%
Sea38.639.91.33.3% 52.356.34.07.7%
Great Britain491.8498.76.91.4% 538.9545.76.91.3%
Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey1.31.2-0.1-8.4% 1.51.4-0.1-8.8%
Cross-Channel493.1499.96.81.4% 540.4547.16.71.2%
Belgium19.319.2-0.1-0.5% 19.319.2-0.2-0.8%
Germany82.576.9-5.6-6.8% 79.174.5-4.6-5.8%
Spain121.3119.5-1.8-1.5% 105.5101.7-3.8-3.6%
France64.766.82.13.2% 60.463.63.25.3%
Italy40. 36.542.76.216.9%
Netherlands56. 57.458.41.01.8%
Poland44.549.65.111.4% 38.342.74.511.7%
Other EU2787.390.63.33.8% 81.984.52.63.1%
EU27 Total538.3555.417.13.2% 497.5510.412.92.6%
Switzerland17.318.00.74.2% 17.718.50.94.9%
Other Europe15.513.6-2.0-12.7% 13.611.8-1.8-13.2%
Continental571.1586.915.82.8% 528.7540.712.02.3%
United States90.592.52.12.3% 95.496.41.01.0%
Other Transatlantic7.
Transatlantic98.4100.52.12.2% 103.3104.71.31.3%
United Arab Emirates29.028.5-0.5-1.6% 28.429.91.55.4%
Other Destinations21.719.3-2.4-11.2% 20.817.4-3.4-16.2%
Other Routes50.747.8-2.9-5.7% 49.247.4-1.8-3.7%
All1,213.21, 1,221.61,239.818.21.5%
Table 2: Overseas arrivals and departures by mode and route, January-March 2019 and 2020000's
    January - March   
 Arrivals Departures
20192020Change 20192020Change
Air3,717.52,970.6-746.9-20.1% 3,683.82,921.1-762.7-20.7%
Sea148.9114.6-34.3-23.0% 155.5124.2-31.4-20.2%
Great Britain1,628.81,303.7-325.1-20.0% 1,666.21,332.1-334.0-20.0%
Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey4.43.6-0.9-19.4% 4.53.9-0.6-13.6%
Cross-Channel1,633.21,307.2-326.0-20.0% 1,670.71,336.0-334.7-20.0%
Belgium62.647.3-15.4-24.5% 61.947.2-14.8-23.9%
Germany268.6188.7-79.9-29.7% 259.1187.4-71.7-27.7%
Spain365.9297.2-68.7-18.8% 353.6266.1-87.5-24.7%
France215.3163.6-51.7-24.0% 206.7161.0-45.7-22.1%
Italy132.796.6-36.1-27.2% 128.091.1-36.9-28.8%
Netherlands174.2141.3-32.9-18.9% 174.5139.8-34.6-19.9%
Poland120.2109.9-10.3-8.6% 113.7103.7-10.0-8.8%
Portugal68.769.91.31.9% 67.263.4-3.9-5.7%
Other EU27261.4218.7-42.7-16.3% 255.3213.1-42.1-16.5%
EU27 Total1,669.61,333.2-336.3-20.1% 1,620.11,272.8-347.2-21.4%
Switzerland54.744.2-10.5-19.2% 54.444.2-10.2-18.8%
Other Europe48.235.4-12.8-26.6% 44.933.3-11.6-25.9%
Continental1,772.41,412.8-359.6-20.3% 1,719.31,350.3-369.1-21.5%
United States300.3227.9-72.5-24.1% 297.6230.5-67.1-22.5%
Other Transatlantic24.820.4-4.3-17.6% 25.222.6-2.7-10.6%
Transatlantic325.1248.3-76.8-23.6% 322.8253.0-69.8-21.6%
United Arab Emirates76.572.0-4.5-5.8% 71.166.4-4.7-6.7%
Other Destinations59.244.9-14.3-24.2% 55.439.5-15.8-28.6%
Other Routes135.7116.9-18.8-13.8% 126.5105.9-20.6-16.3%
 .... ....
All3,866.43,085.2-781.2-20.2% 3,839.33,045.3-794.1-20.7%
Table 3: Annual overseas arrivals and departures by mode and route000's
Great Britain7,464.77,498.77,527.77,525.17,573.17,565.67,627.77,637.4
Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey32.933.
 Czech Republic96.297.199.3101.7103.1106.7104.5107.0
 Other Europe22.418.932.428.741.138.285.883.9
 United States1,383.41,402.81,628.11,652.41,871.21,889.91,891.71,913.3
 Other Transatlantic3.
 United Arab Emirates350.6349.0363.5363.5364.0361.1330.9327.0
 Other countries34.434.325.927.374.578.998.299.0

Background Notes




Overseas Travel.


This release covers overseas travel into and out of the Republic of Ireland. Cross-border travel and domestic travel within the Republic of Ireland are excluded.

Data Collection

This release is based on administrative data provided by Irish airports and passenger data provided by the sea carrier companies operating ferries to and from Ireland.


In a small number of cases, due to restrictions imposed by the current Covid-19 crisis, data providers have not been able to transmit data to the CSO in time for this release. In these cases, data have been imputed for these providers. Imputation is made by applying the general trends observed by the other providers on comparable routes and applying these trends to the previous month’s data. In March 2020 imputed passengers accounted for just 1.8% of all arrivals and 1.9% of all departures.


Individual figures have been rounded independently and the sum of the component items may therefore not necessarily add to the totals shown.

Reliability of Results 

As the statistics in this release are reproduced directly from administrative data they are considered reliable.


As the statistics in this release are persons arriving and departing, they are not directly comparable with the previous Overseas Travel release, which reported the number of overseas trips. In addition, the previous Overseas Travel series specifically excluded residents of Northern Ireland. No country of residence information is available for the compilation of these Air and Sea Travel statistics, so all countries of residence are necessarily included.


The statistics in this release are not fully coherent with separate Transport aviation and maritime statistical series published by the CSO. The Air and Sea Travel statistics exclude domestic air travel and flights to Northern Ireland. The Air and Sea Travel statistics also exclude commercial drivers on sea routes.


(1) Arrivals

Arrivals comprise all persons disembarking at Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Knock, Shannon or Waterford airports, or Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Ringiskiddy or Rosslare seaports, from international destinations (excluding Northern Ireland). Transfer passengers are included. Domestic air passengers are excluded. Cruise passengers are excluded.

(2) Departures

Departures have the same scope as arrivals except than they refer to persons embarking for international destinations.

(3) Mode

Mode is the means of travel. Only two modes are available; air and sea. Air refers to all persons who arrive or depart by commercial airliners (crew excluded). Sea refers to all persons who arrive or depart by commercial passenger vessels (crew and commercial drivers excluded).

(4) Route

For convenience, all persons arriving or departing overseas are allocated to one of four entry or exit routes. These are Cross-Channel (Great Britain, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands), continental (other European countries), Transatlantic (North & South America, including the Caribbean) and Other (Asia, Africa, Oceania, etc.).

(5) Country

All routes are broken down into separate countries and country groupings. It is important to note that these are the countries that arriving persons immediately departed from before entering Ireland, or departing persons immediately arrive in, after leaving Ireland. They do not refer to the country of residence of arriving or departing persons (unlike previous Overseas Travel releases, where this information was published). Nor do they refer to the country of origin or destination of the persons travelling. For example, if a person flies from John F Kennedy airport (United States) to Heathrow (Great Britain) and then to Ireland, that person will be categorised as arriving from Great Britain, as this was where their flight stage to Ireland originated.

(6) Transfer Passengers

Transfer passengers or 'connecting passengers' are defined as those who make a stop at an airport without any particular purpose other than being en route to another destination.  Transfer passengers disembark from their aircraft and pass through the airport en route to their connecting flight.  The two flights must be booked on the same ticket for it to be considered a transfer. A transfer trip is a completed journey – for example a passenger who travels from London Gatwick to Dublin Airport and then on to New York (on the one ticket) is counted as two transfer passengers and one transfer trip.

Dublin Transfer Passengers (000's)

Month 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

Jan 20 28 31 35 55 79 88 108 111
Feb 15 19 18 22 33 59 67 76 79
Mar 18 20 25 30 51 85 94 126 53
Apr 31 38 57 66 86 130 157 171  
May 39 54 75 89 105 144 161 179  
Jun 51 72 96 110 119 157 185 186  
Jul 43 66 96 127 121 158 199 195  
Aug 47 82 109 142 139 194 229 223  
Sep 34 50 78 102 124 158 191 194  
Oct 33 46 72 91 142 160 187 186  
Nov 34 33 42 61 84 118 136 141  
Dec 37 41 51 74 107 128 155 155  
Year 402 548 749 949 1,167 1,569 1,850 1,939  

Source: daa

In March 2020 there were 53,000 transfer passengers handled by Dublin Airport. This compares to 126,000 in March 2019, a decrease of 57.9%.

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