Figures released by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office last week revealed a strong passenger performance at Ireland’s main airports for the first 9 months of the year, with the notable exception of Shannon Airport (Table 1).

Table 1: Number of passengers handled by main airports, Quarter 3 2015-2017

Airport

Quarter 3

 

January to September

2015

2016

2017

% change 2016-2017

 

2015

2016

2017

% change 2016-2017

Dublin

7,621,339

8,361,602

8,894,064

+6.4

 

19,095,319

21,312,140

22,649,287

+6.3

Cork

653,801

706,690

752,149

+6.4

 

1,613,484

1,751,623

1,808,098

+3.2

Shannon

565,509

562,727

531,272

-5.6

 

1,297,080

1,327,313

1,257,996

-5.2

Knock

226,306

253,870

244,849

-3.6

 

539,761

577,306

587,725

+1.8

Kerry

99,683

104,956

102,166

-2.7

 

234,798

254,799

259,736

+1.9

Total

9,166,638

9,989,845

10,524,500

+5.4

 

22,780,442

25,223,181

26,562,842

+5.3

Source: http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/as/aviationstatisticsquarter32017/

Despite overall growth of 5.3% or 1.34 million passengers, Shannon Airport is experiencing a decline this year in the order of 5.2% or just under 70,000 terminal passengers (n.b. transit figures are excluded by the CSO). Although Stansted services reduced, the airport  benefited from two new Norwegian Air International services to the US, a Lufthansa service to Frankfurt and Scandanavian Airlines flights to Stockholm.

Figure 1: Shannon Airport Passenger Traffic 2015/2016/2017

Looking at the market share for the five largest Irish airports for the first 9 months of 2017 (Figure 2), Dublin dominates with 85% and heading for almost 30 million passengers this year. Next is Cork with just under 7% and a growth rate of 3.2%, followed by Shannon at 4.7% (5.3% in 2016), Knock 2.2% and Kerry with almost 1%.

Figure 2: Market Share of Passengers

With such growth in four of the five main airports comes the question of capacity, particularly in the case of Dublin Airport. The new runway project has already commenced, with a price tag of €320m, and the airport also says it is investing €100m a year to upgrade existing facilities. Keen to address and exploit the opportunities arising from the projected doubling of demand for air travel over the next 20 years, the Irish Government brought forward a major capacity review of Cork, Dublin and Shannon airports up to the year 2050 to earlier this year. The contract was awarded to Oxford Economics and Cambridge Economics Policy Associates at a cost of Eur135,000 and the final report (expected to recommend a third terminal at Dublin) is scheduled for completion in late December 2017 / early January 2018.


Padraic currently holds the position of Ussher Assistant Professor in International Strategic Management at Trinity College Dublin. His career to date has spanned both academic and industry worlds. Academically, he obtained his PhD in Strategy from University College Dublin's Smurfit Graduate School in 2009 (he also attained a BA, BComm and MBA from UCD). His experience in management education exceeds twenty years and he has worked for a number of third-level institutions, including the Open University Business School and the Irish American University in Dublin. Commercially, Padraic worked for over twenty years in the aviation sector, specifically Airport Management, and he has held a number of Senior Management positions in Aer Rianta (now Dublin Airport Authority) and Aer Rianta International Middle East, including Head of Business Strategy, Head of Marketing, Head of Business Development, and Head of Services (Operations). Germany, Oman, Turkey and Yemen are just some of the countries where Padraic has undertaken Aviation Consultancy projects. Padraic's current responsibilities include MSc in Management Programme Director, BESS Committee Member, College Tutor, UG and PG Committee Member and Senior Sophister Year Coordinator. Research interests focus on strategic decision-making processes, entrepreneurship, cross-cultural management, and academic integrity. Industry research focuses on Aviation Management.