Dublin Airport was the fifth largest European airport for connectivity to North America in 2016, ahead of the major hub airports of Heathrow, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Transatlantic traffic was the fastest-growing segment of Dublin Airport’s market last year as a record 2.9 million passengers travelled between Dublin and North America, a 16 per cent increase over the previous year.
The number of passengers travelling between Dublin and North America has almost doubled since 2010 according to Dublin Airport’s airline business development manager Stephen O’Reilly. “We have been growing Dublin Airport’s status as a transatlantic gateway. Our unique advantage as the only capital city in Europe to offer US pre-clearance facilities on departure is a significant benefit in attracting new routes and airlines," he told Routesonline during this year's Routes Americas air service development forum in las Vegas, USA.
“Passengers who pre-clear US customs and immigration checks at Dublin Airport save significant time on arrival in the US. The only queue a pre cleared passenger encounters on arrival in the US is the taxi queue to their final destination,” he added.
During the peak summer season in 2016, Dublin Airport had 48 flights per day to and from 12 cities in the United States and five Canadian destinations. Last year Aer Lingus launched three new transatlantic services - to Los Angeles, Hartford, Connecticut and Newark and Air Canada Rouge launched a new Vancouver service.
This summer, Delta Air Lines will expand its route network from Dublin by launching a new service to Boston complementing the airline’s existing routes from Dublin to New York JFK and Atlanta. Aer Lingus will launch a new three-times weekly service to Miami.
“Ease of connecting at Dublin Airport, together with the fantastic range of destinations to North America as well US pre-clearance facilities helped increase Dublin’s transfer traffic by 23 per cent last year to 1.2 million passengers,” said O’Reilly. Dublin Airport’s overall passenger traffic grew by 11 per cent to a record 27.9 million last year with significant growth across both its short-haul and long-haul networks.
Nineteen new routes were introduced during the year and additional capacity was added on 31 existing services through extra flights of the use of larger aircraft. Three new airlines started operating at Dublin Airport last year – Aegean Airlines, Cobalt, and Flyone – while KLM returned to Dublin after a 50 year absence.
Last year Dublin Airport opened a new passenger lounge after US pre-clearance in Terminal 2, making Dublin the only airport outside of North America to offer a lounge facility once the necessary pre-clearance checks are completed. The new lounge is called 51st & Green, named to reflect the theme of connecting Ireland and the US at Dublin Airport before departure.