Dublin airport believes there is big opportunity for the gateway to continue to develop through the recent acquisition of Aer Lingus by IAG.

The British Airways, Iberia and Vueling parent completed its acquisition of the Irish carrier this summer, and speaking to Flightglobal at World Routes in Durban, Dublin airport's managing director Vincent Harrison says growth at the Irish hub was a significant part of the discussions.

“Aer Lingus is predominately based and has most of its operations from Dublin airport and a lot of the IAG discussion and plan is about growing Aer Lingus and in particular enabling it to continue the growth plans that it has but with a much firmer financial footing that a larger group will provide,” he says.

Harrison says the future expansion of Aer Lingus will take place “against the background of a lot of airport congestion in the UK which gives us a big opportunity for continuing to grow that connecting base”.

Dublin airport has registered 15% traffic growth for the year to date - as Irish traffic levels continue to climb back after it was hard hit by the financial crisis - and while Harrison says that level of expansion is unlikely to continue he notes that it will continue to rise as Ireland’s economy was the best performing in Europe.

Harrison says the “heading eastwards” with China and India “very much on the map”. A lot of our network has been driven not just by leisure travel but by business travel and obviously the focus of European and Irish businesses is increasingly turning to Asia and North America so we see those markets as offering big opportunities for Dublin airport”.

Dublin saw a 120% increase in capacity in the US and Canadian markets last year, with growth from West Jet, Aer Lingus and Air Canada and Harrison see’s the airport’s US pre-clearance facility as providing opportunities for further hub operations from Dublin.

Source: Cirium Dashboard