Why aren’t regional airports growing in Ireland?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Last week, the Irish, Central Statistics Office issued the totals of the number of passengers that flew through the Republic’s airports last year. It was at an all-time high of 36.5 million, an increase of 6.1% over the previous year.

Dublin Airport’s terminal 2. The airport seems to be attracting more and more passengers

What is also in the statistics that were issued is the fact that most passengers use Dublin and that other airports, whilst increasing the number of passengers that they handle, carry a smaller percentage of total travellers compared to Dublin Airport.

Dublin carried 85.6% of all passengers that flew in Ireland last year with Cork handling 6.5% and Shannon, 4.6%. These three airports carry just under 97% of all passengers despite the fact that Kerry and Knock airports saw rises in passenger numbers. Passenger numbers decreased at Connemara and Inishmore airports and, between them, these two airports carried only 3.1% of passengers. Sligo and Waterford have lost their flights to the UK and Dublin whereas once upon a time they would move over 120,000 people per year. Now it isn’t even 12,000.

Compare these figures with a few years ago. In 2014, Dublin Airport carried 81.9% of all passengers in Ireland, Cork had 8.1% and Shannon saw 5.9% of all passengers.

Why the decline or, alternatively, why has Dublin managed to attract such a greater percentage of passengers? Are people driving more or taking the train and coach compared to the days when the plane was the preferred option? Is there no demand for flights from regional airports into Dublin or the UK anymore?

The growth of Dublin seems to suggest that, in the future, there will be just three international airports in the Republic of Ireland. Is that what Irish people living outside Dublin want?

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