MORE THAN HALF a million Northern Ireland residents used Dublin Airport last year, a 15 per cent increase on 2011, according to new figures from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).
The growth in northern business exceeded the average passenger numbers at the airport last year, which were up by 2 per cent to 19.1 million.
“Last year, 521,000 Northern Ireland passengers traveled through Dublin Airport, which is equivalent to almost 30 per cent of the population of the North,” said DAA Public Affairs Director, Paul O’Kane.
O’Kane believes the huge growth in business is due to a number of factors, including the DAA’s route network with direct flights to 170 destinations, new facilities at the airport and the new road network that has made travelling from Northern Ireland to Dublin faster.
Holiday and leisure trips accounted for just over 70 per cent of travel by Northern Ireland residents through Dublin Airport last year, while almost 20 per cent traveled for business reasons. Three quarters of Northern Ireland passengers took a direct flight from Dublin to their final destination, while 25 per cent transferred to a connecting flight to complete their journey.
Dublin Airport is also a key source of tourist visitors to Northern Ireland as 62 per cent of all air passengers travelling to the island of Ireland come through Dublin.
The number of Northern Ireland-based passengers using Dublin Airport has almost doubled since 2010 and the airport is confident of further growth.
London Heathrow was the most popular destination for Northern Ireland passengers using Dublin Airport last year, while the top ten destinations comprised four long-haul and six short-haul routes. Eight of the top ten destinations for Northern Ireland passengers using Dublin Airport were not served by the airports in Northern Ireland.