Published on November 1st, 2015 | by Jim Lee


Traffic figures at Dublin Airport up by over 2.5 million in the first nine months of the year

Latest traffic figures at Dublin Airport show that just over 2.3 million passengers passed through the Airport in September, which was a 14% increase, on the same period last year. This brought the total for the nine months of the year to 19,155,203, more than 2.5 million or 15.3% than the 16,607,481 total, achieved in the same period in 2014. This growth in passenger numbers made September the busiest such month in Dublin Airport’s 75 year history.

Passenger numbers to and from continental Europe increased by 14%, with just over 1.2 million passengers travelling to European destinations during the month, while some 750,000 passengers travelled to UK destinations in September, which was a 14% increase on the same month last year.

Transatlantic traffic to North America increased by 16% in September, with almost 275,000 passengers travelling on this route sector last month.

About 68,000 passengers travelled to the Middle East and North Africa, which was 14% more than during last September.

The number of passengers taking domestic flights increased by 21%, with 8,000 people travelling on domestic routes last month. A detailed monthly breakdown follows:-

Dublin passenger figures Jan-Sept 2015

Positive traffic trend continued into October

The positive traffic trend at Dublin Airport continued into October, with almost 300,000 passengers expected to travel through the airport over the October Bank Holiday Weekend, (Friday 23rd to Monday 26th October). Passenger numbers are up 10% over the same weekend last year, and this is expected to push passenger numbers well beyond the over 1.96 million recorded in October 2014. More than 2,100 flights were due to arrive and depart at Dublin Airport, with an average of 75,000 passengers expected each day, over the course of the four day Bank Holiday period. In addition, a total of 60 extra flights carrying almost 8,000 supporters to/from Cardiff operated in advance of Ireland’s quarter final match against Argentina. Around 80 extra flights, carrying almost 11,000 supporters, had earlier operated to Cardiff in support of Ireland’s last Rugby World Cup pool match against France.

Start of the winter schedule

The October Bank Holiday Weekend also marked the official end of the summer schedule and the start of the winter schedule at Dublin Airport. This usually sees a reduction in schedules and indeed some airlines such as WOW Air have reduced their services. From 2nd November, the Dublin – Reykjavík service, the WW852/3, operates twice weekly, with revised timings and days. It now operates on Mondays and Fridays arriving in Dublin at 08:40 and departing at 11:10. The schedule is shown to be using A320s but visits by the airlines A321s are still expected.

However on the other hand, Dublin Airport was able to welcome the decision by Luxair to continue its direct services to Luxembourg from Dublin for the winter season. The airline has seen continued growth in its business and leisure markets since it resumed the service in 2014. For the winter there will be a daily midday flight Monday to Friday (LG4885/6), in addition to a Sunday evening service (LG4887/8). The weekday service arrives in Dublin at 12:50 and departs at 13:20 and is mostly operated by DHC Dash 8-402 equipment, while the Sunday service, which arrives in Dublin at 19:05 and departs at 19:40, is scheduled to be operated by an Embraer ERJ-145, as is the Tuesday service. Prices on the route start from €149 return, which includes 20kg checked luggage allowance, complimentary food, drinks and newspapers on board. Luxair Business Class passengers will also enjoy Fast Lane Service through Dublin Airport and Executive Lounges at both ends of the route.

Luxair EMB

Luxair EMBAER EMB-145

Luxair is planning to dispose of its ERJ-145 fleet by the middle of next year, when their replacement with a fleet of five Dash 8-400s, sourced from Bombardier, will see the first phase of the Luxembourg-based carrier’s fleet renewal programme complete. A second phase of the plan, will involve an order, for a yet-to-be-determined Next Generation aircraft, with deliveries planned for 2018 to 2020. Luxair currently operates seven Dash 8-400s, two Boeing 737- 737-7C9s and four Boeing 737-800s. Another 737-8Q8, F-HJUL, is on wet-lease from XL Airways France, but is due to be returned. However, to cover an anticipated surge in winter demand, as well as to cover Luxair Tours operations, Luxair has acquired 737-800, LX-LBB. Destined for Air Berlin as D-ABMZ, the aircraft was never taken up by the German carrier and has instead been parked at Berlin Schönefeld for six months before being delivered on 15th October. One of Luxair’s Dash 8-400s, LX-LGH was damaged following an aborted take-off at Saarbrücken on 30th September. The aircraft landed with its gear retracted and came to rest about 360 m (1,180 ft.) before the end of the paved surface of the runway (see here).

Dublin Airport -Ryanair Amsterdam Launch

Ryanair new route launch to Amsterdam

Another development for the winter is Ryanair’s new Dublin-Amsterdam service, which commenced on 27th October and operates four times daily, for both the winter and summer schedules. The inaugural early morning service, the FR3100, operated by Boeing 737-8AS (WL), EI-DWA departed Dublin shortly after it scheduled departure time of 06:50, but landed in Amsterdam at 09:31 just a minute late.

Summer 2016 schedule

Aegean A321

Aegean A321

Details of the summer 2016 Dublin schedules continue to be announced, with the most recent being on 29th October, when Dublin Airport confirmed that Aegean Airlines, which is part of the Star Alliance network, is to launch twice weekly services from Dublin to Athens, commencing 20th June and which will run until 19th September 2016. The new service, operated by an A320 aircraft will depart Dublin to every Monday and Saturday at 23.15, arriving in Athens at 05.05. In addition to serving Athens, one of the world’s oldest cities, with recorded history spanning around 3,400 years, the new service will allow passengers from Dublin to travel to Athens and onto 30 destinations on Aegean’s route network.

Dublin Airport has also welcomed Ryanair’s announcement that that it is to add the Spanish city of Vigo to its route network from April 2016 and also to increase frequencies on 14 existing routes at the airport for summer 2016. The routes involved are Alicante, Barcelona, Berlin, Birmingham, Brussels, Budapest, East Midlands, Liverpool, London Gatwick, Madrid, Malaga, Manchester, Venice Treviso, and Warsaw. The new Vigo service will operate twice weekly during the summer schedule. It also welcomed the earlier announcement from Aer Lingus was to launch services from Dublin to Los Angeles, California, Hartford, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey next summer. Aer Lingus will also add Liverpool, Murcia, Pisa and Montpellier to its short haul route network from Dublin and to increase frequencies on 22 existing routes for summer 2016.

Last year, Dublin Airport welcomed a record 2.1 million transatlantic passengers, which was a 14% increase on the previous 12 months. So far this year, transatlantic traffic is up a further 17%. Dublin Airport had 328 flights per week to/from transatlantic destinations during the peak summer months this year, with 10 airlines flying to 15 transatlantic destinations, 11 in the United States and four in Canada. One of the new routes inaugurated this summer was a seasonal service to Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, which was operated from July until mid-September, by Europe Airpost. The airline has confirmed that it will offer an enhanced program on the route next summer operating from July to mid-October. The decision to operate the extended three and a half months programme follows the success of the service which operated each week from Dublin via Paris and generated new traffic flows on both sides of the Atlantic. Europe Airpost say that the breakdown was 75% from Paris and 25% from Dublin and reflecting the high level of service customer satisfaction, as measured by surveys conducted regularly on board, was 97%.

On the debit side, Etihad has revised its plans to increase its Dublin – Abu Dhabi service to double daily using a A330-200 during summer 2016. It now plans to operate a single daily service using a Boeing 777-300ER from 15th June to 15th September.

daa works to improve and modernise facilities

On 21st October, the daa invited consultants to tender, for what was described as the preparation of detailed feasibility studies, for “Runway 10/28 rehabilitation, AGL infrastructure upgrade works, associated runway access improvements and associated works”. The tender notice adds that “Runway Infrastructure including AGL Infrastructure is in need of refurbishment and replacement, and runway capacity by means of runway line up points and other associated projects, the refurbished and new facilities must facilitate the forecast increase in traffic”. The closing date is 17th November and the daa proposes to engage a multi-disciplinary design consultant to prepare detailed feasibility studies for these projects, “prepare outline designs and prepare further designs/employers requirements documents to facilitate the procurement, construction and commissioning of these significant infrastructure projects at Dublin Airport”.

Separately on 10th September, the daa invited tenders for a five-year upgrade programme of airfield works at the airport, with an estimated value excluding VAT of €60 million. The planned airfield works, includes but are not limited to the following:

  • Overlay of Runway 10/28;
  • Airfield Taxiway Rehabilitation (Taxiway E3 and B7 Pavement Improvements);
  • Airfield Lighting Upgrade (Runway 10/28 AGL system Replacement);
  • Taxiway AGL Upgrade;
  • Airfield Infrastructure for Large Aircraft;
  • Runway Line Up Point 10 end;
  • Taxiway Signage Re-designation in the vicinity of Runway 10/28 and Associate Taxiways.

The tender notice involves the establishment of a framework agreement with a single operator covering the works and their “design and execution”. The duration of the framework agreement is 60 months. The document notes that Runway 10/28 was originally constructed in 1989, as a rigid Pavement Quality Concrete (PQC) construction. It was overlaid in 2010 with a Thin Porous Friction Course (TPFC) to provide improved friction. A lot of people are starting to install concrete patios, here are some Things to Consider Before Getting a New Concrete Patio. The TPFC installed in 2010 had a design life of 6-8 years thereafter rehabilitation is required. Recent studies have determined that the runway does not have sufficient structural strength for the projected aircraft movements over the next 15-20 years and a rehabilitation of the pavement is required. It currently deals with 95% of all air traffic movements.

The daa notes that it finds it difficult to even locate spares for its critical but aging approach lighting system and adds: “The condition of a number of other very critical assets in the vicinity of runway 10/28 has also been assessed over the last number of years. Through these assessments, it has been determined that the assets must be rehabilitated within the next two to three years in order to sustain airport operations and reduce the risk of a system failure.”

Work on the runway will take place at night and all elements of the wider upgrade will be undertaken as one umbrella project. “This strategy will optimise both the synergies between the individual projects and the access to the runway and taxiway network, thereby minimising the disruption to the airport in so far as possible”.

Earlier on 17th September, Idom Merebrook Ltd a UK based multidisciplinary Engineering Consultancy, announced that it had started work, on an aviation apron rehabilitation project at the airport. The €20 million project, which is due to be completed in 2019, forms part of a bigger scheme to modernise the airport. The aircraft aprons at Dublin airport are over 40 years old and require maintenance and upgrading in order to maintain the safe and smooth running of the airport. Idom has been engaged to manage a phased apron rehabilitation project to replace existing apron pavements before they become a business interruption or a health and safety risk. Specifically, the scope of work for Idom includes an initial feasibility study to define the project and develop an appropriate delivery strategy. The engineering team is then required undertake the detailed design of the rehabilitation areas and procure and manage the delivery of the rehabilitation works between 2015 and 2019.

Javier Losada, Idom Aviation Manager commented: “This is both an exciting and challenging project for our team. In order to minimize disruption to passengers there has been an extensive consultation period with airlines and airside operations to create a phasing strategy that both minimises impact and is also cost effective. The onsite engineering team has also had to phase works to interface with other ongoing engineering projects at the site, including taxiway rehabilitation, the installation of aviation fuel pipelines and enhancements to the runway.”

The apron network and infrastructure is required to accommodate a range of Boeing and Airbus models including the new generation Code F aircraft, and is based on providing capacity for the airport’s busiest times of passenger traffic at the height of season. In addition, the design brief had to consider issues such as access and egress routes, design of drainage and pollution control, proposed fixed electrical ground power infrastructure and the location of fuel hydrants for fuel pipelines.

Dublin Airport ramp (IMG9939 JL)

The Dublin Airport ramp

As an integral part of the project Idom has also prepared an environmental and sustainability strategy designed to minimize waste disposal and maximise efficient use of resources, this includes the identification and quantity of materials on site with an assessment of the recycling options for the various fractions. This reduces the quantity of materials that have to be taken off site, and in the instance that materials need to be brought on to site local suppliers are used to minimize haul distances.

The project also includes the renewal, or provision of the infrastructure for future upgrade, of the airport ground lighting system in the areas of apron rehabilitation, which proposes to replace existing LV system with an LED ELV system that has both economic and environmental benefits. Once complete, the minimum anticipated life span of the new fully constructed apron pavements is 30 years, with 10 years before its first scheduled maintenance.

Also during September urgent short-term urgent on runway 10/28, consisting of pavement repairs, surveying and refreshing of paint markings, took place between the 21st and 25th September and was an essential part of the upkeep and maintenance of the runway system at Dublin Airport. This is essential for the safe operation of the airport. In addition Taxiway F1 realignment was introduced with effect from 18th August, meaning that F1 is now directly in line with F2/F3 (see here). This work follows a recommendation from the Air Accident Investigation Unit in its report on a runway incursion incident involving Monarch Airlines Airbus A321-231 G-OZBS on 21st May 2011.

Dublin Airport -Terminal 1 Road closure

Dublin Airport -Terminal 1 Road closure

Another project underway is essential repairs to the Departures Road at Terminal 1 (T1). The Departures Road is required to be closed for a three-month period for essential maintenance, which commenced on 28th September. Almost 375 million passengers have used Terminal 1 since it opened for operations in 1972. The significant increase in vehicles using the Departures Road over that time means that the road is now in urgent need of repair and in need of Haul Road Development, to prolong its life and to address some ongoing drainage issues. The project to upgrade the departures road will include structural repairs to walls and concrete columns, the upgrading and replacing of existing movement joints and the installation of a new drainage system and outlets. The existing footpaths, road surface and line markings will also be replaced.

During the period of the works, Dublin Airport will provide an alternative set down area for customers departing from Terminal 1 at the rear of the T1 multi-storey car park. A dedicated traffic management system is in operation with clear signage and traffic marshals in place to assist customers throughout the works. The upgrade work, which is weather dependent, is due to be completed by mid-December.

Dublin Airport - flight info board

The flight information board in Terminal 1

This is just one of a number of projects to modernise Terminal 1, which is more than 40 years old. Another is the removal of the large flight information board in the departures area in T1, which is being replaced with 15 flight information screens – three to the side of each check-in island. As part of this programme, ticket desks have been removed in T1 to create more light and space in the departures area and a new wooden fascia has been installed in departures.

The flight information board in T1 has been in place since 2005 and had become a symbol of Dublin Airport over the past 10 years. It was designed and constructed by the Spanish company Ikusi and is made from four separate panels and was originally installed in January 2005. It is 11.3 metres long by 3.4 metres high and weighs 4.5 tonnes.

Another improvement saw the opening of the Marqette Restaurant and bar, a new dining concept based on traditional food markets and employing 110 new permanent staff, and involving a €4 million investment.

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About the Author

Jim has had a life-long interest in military matters and aviation. Initially, he fused both of these interests together with a passion for military aviation, initially as a photographer. He has travelled extensively over the years and has been the guest of many European air forces, plus the air forces of the United States, Russia and others throughout the world. His first introduction to journalism coincided with an interest in the civil aviation industry was when he initially wrote for and later edited, ‘Aviation Ireland’, the club magazine of the Aviation Society of Ireland. Jim was a contributor to Flying in Ireland since its inception over 10 years ago and is now a key contributor to this site. He has also contributed items for a number of other aviation magazines and has produced a number of detailed contributions to Government policy documents, most recently the Irish Government’s White Paper on Defence. He is also deeply involved in the local community and voluntary sector and has worked both in local government and central government.

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