Dublin Airport History

Dublin Airport History

Dublin Airport (DUB) is an international airport. The code for the airport is DUB. It is the busiest airport in Ireland. The airport is situated seven kilometres from Dublin in Collinstown, close to Swords. The airport serves the capital city of Dublin Ireland.

(DUB) is run by the DAA and it opened in January 1940. The airport has developed over the years into one of the busiest airports in Europe. In 2019 passenger numbers were in excess of 32 million passengers. See our Shops at Dublin Airport Page for shopping information.

Work began on the original terminal building in 1938, this building was designed by a group of architects including the young architect Desmond FitzGerald. Desmond Fitzgerald had designed an airport terminal building as part of his college programme. Desmond Fitzgerald was the brother of Irish politician Garret Fitzgerald. Garret Fitzgerald was a Fine Gael politician, a barrister and an economist. He served as Taoiseach from 1981 to 1982 and the years 1982 to 1987. He was the leader of the Fine Gael party for 10 years. The Taoiseach in Ireland is a similar role to the American President in the US. The airport design won an award from the Royal Institute of Architects in 1942, the design of the building was based on ocean liners.

During the 1950s the airport saw passenger numbers grow and runaway extensions. More airlines started to set up flights and passenger numbers grew. British Airways and BKS begin flight services at Dublin Airport. In 1958 a new flight service was set up by Aer Lingus including Shannon Airport. The terminal building was at full capacity during the 1950s, and the increase in growth of passenger numbers showed that a new larger terminal was required. In June 1959 a new terminal building was opened and this became an arrivals terminal and the original terminal building was used for departures only.

Dublin Airport History

The 1960s saw further growth for Dublin Airport and several carriers were using Boeing 737s and 707s. These large aircraft caused the need for new departure gate piers and these are added to the old terminal building. In 1969 passenger numbers were in excess of 1.7 million people.

In June 1972 a new state-of-the-art passenger terminal building was opened. The building cost 10 million. This new building became known as Terminal 1(T1) and had the capacity to handle 6 million passengers per year.

1983 saw Aer Lingus started regular daily flights domestically. These flights were to bring passengers from other Irish airports to Dublin Airport and helping Aer Lingus grow there international network. Eight Irish airports including Shannon Airport had domestic flights to Dublin Airport.

The 1980s saw further growth in passenger numbers increasing to over 5 million. In 1989 a new runaway was opened and a new top-of-the-range air traffic control area was opened.

During the 1990s further development was carried out at Dublin Airport to expand services and facilities. Further developments to the terminal buildings and the ground level of the original terminal building. This building was fully dedicated to passenger services to add more departure gates at the airport.

In 1993 a new bilateral air transport agreement with the United States saw the ability to fly direct from Dublin Airport to the US without having to stop off at Shannon Airport County Clare.

In 2008 Aer Lingus launched 16 new destinations. During the period of the Celtic Tiger in Ireland during the 1990s and 2000s saw real growth for Dublin Airport. A huge increase in business travel, to and from Ireland and a huge increase in tourism numbers saw Dublin Airport’s passenger numbers increase even further. Ireland opened up its borders to migrant workers and this saw a huge increase in demand for Eastern Europe flights. Ireland, the UK and Sweden were the only 3 countries that opened their borders to workers from 10 countries in an agreement that saw the enlargement of the European Union in 2004.

2009 and 2010 saw a decrease in passenger numbers but after that from 2011 onwards numbers have increased. In 2010 the airport became a two-terminal airport with the opening of Terminal 2(T2). The year 2017 saw passengers number in excess of 29 million.

The current terminal buildings are state-of-the-art Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The terminal 2 building was opened in November 2010 and has served 80 million passengers since 2010. The new terminal building has helped to improve the customer experience and its retro design is appealing to the eyes. Long-haul flights have seen massive increases since the new Terminal 2 (T2) building opened. The terminal operates 6 destinations in Europe and 17 in North America. Passenger numbers have doubled at Dublin Airport since 2010. Dublin Airport has flights to 190 destinations with 56 airlines covering 43 countries worldwide.

Dublin Airport brings in excess of 117,000 jobs and 19,200 people directly employed in the airport and grounds. The value of money in the Irish economy is 8.3 billion every year.

Many Irish sports teams have arrived home at Dublin Airport over the years, and many famous people have used the airport. The world-famous Nelson Mandela, President John F Kennedy, the Beatles and boxer Muhammed Ali all touched down at Dublin Airport over the years.

There is a 16 square metre tapestry dedicated to the famous Irish Poet Seamus Heaney who won the noble prize for literature in 1995. The tapestry name “Out of Marvellous” hangs from the ceiling in Terminal (T2). The tapestry was designed by Czech Artist Peter Sis. Seamus Heaney wrote many great poems including Flaggy Shore, Digging and Death of a Naturalist. The Irish band U2 donated money toward the tapestry and was friends with Seamus Heaney and who was widely admired as a poet.

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