2023 has proven to be the busiest year on record at Ireland West Airport with passenger numbers increasing by 13% to 818,000 for the first time in the airport's history, surpassing the previous record of 807,000 passengers achieved in 2019. The airport now serves 21 International destinations and is served by three of Europe’s major International airlines, Aer Lingus, Lauda Europe, and Ryanair.
Passenger numbers traveling on services to and from the UK totaled 665,000 in 2023, boosted by the commencement of a new daily service to London Heathrow with Aer Lingus, which provides onward connectivity to 80+ destinations worldwide. Ryanair recorded its busiest-ever year for passenger numbers at the airport carrying over 730,000 passengers, a 3% increase on 2022 with record numbers using their services to and from Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Manchester in the UK.
The number of passengers traveling on services to Mainland and Continental Europe hit a new high for the airport, with 148,000 passengers traveling to and from Alicante, Barcelona, Faro, Majorca, Malaga, Milan, Cologne, Lanzarote and Tenerife which represented a 7% increase on 2022 figures.
When compared to 2019, the previous busiest year on record, short-haul traffic to the UK increased by 19%, while passenger numbers traveling to the sun and European city break destinations increased by 16%.
August proved to be the busiest month of the year with 102,000 passengers traveling through the airport during this period, with the busiest individual day of the year also occurring in August, when over 4,500 passengers traveled through the airport on Tuesday 29th August.
In total over 6,000 flights departed and arrived at the airport in 2023 with less than 10 flights impacted as a result of adverse weather at the airport, the lowest figure on record at the airport.
2023 saw continued investment in the Airport Transformation Programme, with a number of infrastructural projects completed during the course of 2023, aimed at transforming the facility and modernising the airport to ensure the facility will meet the future needs of both our airline customers and passengers.
One of the headline projects, completed in 2023, was the installation of a new next-generation cabin baggage screening system which is now fully operational at the airport. These new machines remove the need for passengers to remove laptops, phones, and liquids from cabin bags, and the restriction on liquids of more than 100ml no longer applies, which will further speed up the journey time through the airport.
Commenting on the 2023 performance, Arthur French, Chairman, Ireland West Airport said: “We are delighted to have seen such a strong recovery in passenger travel in 2023, which has resulted in a record year for the airport, which is great news for tourism and job creation, both at the airport and in the wider economy. 2023 was a milestone year for the airport, we had the honour of welcoming the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, to the West of Ireland, as he touched down at the airport on Friday 14th April, in what was a momentous occasion for the airport and indeed the West of Ireland. We launched new services to both Lanzarote and Tenerife with Ryanair, and for the first time launched a new daily service with Aer Lingus, to one of Europe’s major international airport hubs, London Heathrow. I would like to thank Minister Eamon Ryan TD, Minister of State Jack Chambers, TD, and Govt representatives for their continued support for the airport. In addition, I wish to express our gratitude to our customers, airline and tour operator partners, stakeholders, tourism groups, and Local Authority partners for their ongoing support in helping us to continue to grow passenger numbers and develop international connectivity for the region. I would also like to say a special word of thanks to the staff at the airport for their hard work and continued focus on ensuring the customer and passenger experience through the airport is both a safe and welcoming one. We will continue to work with our stakeholders and airline partners over the next 12 months as we strive to further grow our suite of routes from the airport whilst continuing to invest in our airport transformation programme’.