Dublin - London now the busiest city pair in Europe

Extra capacity has helped to grow passenger demand between Dublin and London by 9% over the last calendar year, with almost 4.5 million people flying between the two capital cities in 2015.

Dublin Airport has recorded a 9% increase on air traffic to London, making the route the busiest in Europe, and the second busiest in the world. Dublin-London falls behind Hong Kong-Taipei, the world’s busiest route which boasts more than five million passengers.

The route is operated by Aer Lingus, CityJet, Ryanair and British Airways with flights to London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, London City and London Luton. With almost 4.5 million people on the route, Dublin-London accounted for almost 18% of Dublin Airport’s total traffic in 2015.

London is the airport’s most popular destination, with Paris, New York, Manchester and Frankfurt making up the top five.

Vincent Harrison, Dublin Airport Managing Director said: “The number of people who travelled by air between Dublin and London last year was the equivalent of almost the entire population of the Republic of Ireland. That meant that every week last year 86,000 people flew between Dublin and London – that’s more than a full Croke Park stadium or an almost full Wembley Stadium flying between the two cities every seven days.”

Dublin Airport has seen a rise in passenger numbers across the board over the past calendar year. 2015 was the airport’s busiest year, with a record 25 million passengers travelling through the airport. This is an increase of 15% on 2014’s figure of 21.7 million.

The rise in passenger numbers is down to extra capacity on 39 of their existing services, and 22 new routes. Some of new scheduled routes for 2015 included Addis Ababa, Ethiopia through Ethiopian Airlines; Halifax, Canada through Europe Airpost and Reykjavik, Iceland through WOW Air.

The airport already has eleven new routes scheduled for 2016 including transatlantic services to Hartford Connecticut, Los Angeles, and long-haul charter services to Cancun, Mexico and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport have been increasing year on year since 2011. Due to the economic downturn in 2010, Dublin Airport experienced a 10% passenger decrease, but numbers have been on the rise ever since. 2015 sees the largest year-on-year passenger increase with 15% growth.

Six new scheduled airlines began operating in Dublin in 2015 – WOW Air, Vueling, ASL Airlines France, Transavia, Finnair and Ethiopian Airlines. Ryanair launched three new routes and added capacity to 21 of their existing services, while Aer Lingus opened six new routes, with extra capacity on 14 existing services.

Short-haul traffic increased by 15%, with a record 8.9 million travelling between Dublin and Britain, and almost 12.8 million travelling to continental Europe. A 17% increase of transatlantic passengers saw the figure rise to 2.5 million, and transfer passenger numbers by 27% solidified Dublin Airport’s stance as a significant hub for transatlantic transfers. Overall, transatlantic passenger numbers have increased by a staggering 66% over the last five years, with 15 new services being added at Dublin Airport.

“Growing Dublin Airport as a hub for transfers brings major benefits to the Irish economy. A regular flow of transfer traffic underpins the economic viability of connecting long-haul and short-haul services, and also makes it more likely that Dublin Airport will add additional transatlantic routes and extra flights on existing services, thereby improving Ireland’s overall connectivity, which is hugely positive for tourism and trade,” explained Harrison.

With an extra 3.3 million passengers in the last 12 months, Dublin Airport is continuing to invest in upgrading its facilities, and is currently evaluating plans for the development of a new runway. Ten new aircraft parking stands will be completed in the summer, as well as improvements to the departures and arrivals areas.

What are the busiest European routes?

While Dublin - London may be the busiest city pair in Europe, route pairs between the two cities do not even make it into the ten busiest individual routes within Europe, according to MIDT segment demand data for the first six months of last year.  Our analysis shows that while Dublin - London Heathrow is in fact the busiest international route within the continent, it was only the eleventh largest during the first half of 2015, behind ten domestic routes.  France leads the way with the busy travel corridor from the capital Paris (via domestic gateway Orly) down to the southern centres of Toulouse and Nice taking the top spots with over one million two-way passengers during the period.