While Irish tourism enjoyed its best ever year in 2017, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has reported that Shannon Airport had the largest decline in passenger numbers out of the five main Irish airports surveyed in its recently published  Aviation Statistics.

The CSO states that 10.5 million passengers passed through the main airports during Quarter 3 2017, an increase of 5.4% over the same period in 2016.

While Dublin and Cork continue to enjoy the fruits of the tourism boom, Shannon Knock and Kerry airports have all recorded decreased figures when compared to Q3 2016. Meanwhile, Dublin Airport continues to outstrip the performance of all other airports, accounting for 84.5% of all air passengers carried.

During the nine-month period from January to September 2017, 26.6 million passengers travelled through the main Irish airports, representing an increase of 5.3% compared with the same period last year.

However, the figures show that Shannon Airport handled 531,272 in Q3 2017, which is down 5.6% on 2016 when 562,727 passengers used the facility, a decrease of 31,455 passengers.

In contrast, Cork Airport has increased its passenger throughput to 752,149, up by 6.4% on 2016. A total of 6,059 flights, classified by arrivals and departures, were recorded at Cork while Shannon had 4,064.

Shannon’s top performing route was London-Heathrow with a total throughput of 77,902 passengers with New York JFK in second place with 56,966 passengers.

Finally some clarification on ‘transit’ passengers. CSO aviation statistics for Ireland, in line with Eurostat definitions, do not include ‘transit’ passengers where an aircraft sets down for fuel only (this is considered a non-commercial stop), but the data does include all transit passengers on commercial flights where there are some passengers who disembark and/or embark the aircraft while it is at the airport.

In a different category are ‘transfer’ passengers who are counted as both arriving and departing since they pass through the airport and board a different aircraft.